What has been the influence on society by the Bible? (Part 2)
In part 1, we looked very briefly at how much the Bible has been influential in the world and how its influence can be noticed today for those with eyes to see. Let us review some more interesting information that will help us realise how influential the Word of God has been over a long period of time.
On the website: “What Christians Want to Know,” we find more interesting information:
“The Bible is quoted more often than any other piece of literature in history and has had more influence on our language, culture, and laws than any other book or idea ever published. A recent book by the linguist David Crystal, appropriately called Begat: The King James Bible and the English language, counts 257 phrases from the King James Bible in contemporary English idiom. Some of the phrases from the Bible that has become part of our everyday language include [the following quotes are taken or adapted from the Authorized Version]:
“Gave up the ghost ~ Genesis 35:29
“Out of the mouth of babes ~ Psalms 8:2
“Put words in thy mouth ~ Jeremiah 1:9
“Feet of clay ~ Daniel 2:33
“Salt of the earth ~ Matthew 5:13
“Fought the good fight ~ 2 Timothy 4:7
“Turned the world upside down ~ Acts 17:6
“God forbid ~ Romans 3:4
“Take root ~ 2 Kings 19:30
“The powers that be ~ Romans 13:1
“Filthy lucre ~ 1 Timothy 3:3
“No peace for the wicked ~ Isaiah 57:21
“A fly in the ointment ~ Ecclesiastes 10:1
“Wheels within wheels ~ Ezekiel 10:10
“The blind leading the blind ~ Matthew 15:14
“Famous men have praised the Bible’s influence on society. Tennyson considered Bible reading ‘an education in itself’, while Dickens called the New Testament ‘the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.’
“The US statesman Daniel Webster said: ‘If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures.’
“Equally celebrated as a British orator, TB Macaulay said that the Bible demonstrated ‘the whole extent of the beauty and power’ of the English language.
“The novels that have had the most impact on American literature have strong biblical influences. These classics include: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the much-read Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the book contains almost 100 quotations or direct references from the Bible.
“Film is a highly popular medium in society all over the world and the Bible has influenced society through films that have biblical references. Some of the great films with biblical themes include: The Ten Commandments, The Passion of the Christ, The Prince of Egypt, Chariots of Fire and many others.”
As we pointed out in part 1, we are in no way endorsing depictions of Jesus Christ, including in movies. We just quote these excerpts to show the influence the Bible has had, however inappropriate their depictions might have been. Continuing:
“The Bible has also influenced society by its presence in the great art throughout history. If you visit the great museums in Europe and America, like the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, you’ll find many paintings whose subjects are inspired by the Bible. Famous biblical art include Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper and his statue of David. The Sistine Chapel in Italy is famous for its ceiling painted by Michelangelo which is bursting with beauty from biblical scenes. In the Tate Museum in London, you’ll find engravings by William Blake on the Book of Job. Botticelli delights with his painting on the Adoration of the Magi at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. The painting of David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio is also well known.
Again, the same comments as stated above would apply here as well. Continuing:
“The Bible: laws and morality.
“In societies like America where the Bible is widely read, this sacred book is highly influential, becoming the foundation of morality in society. For example, in America, the Constitution and the rules and laws that govern society have their roots in the Bible, through moral codes like the Ten Commandments.
“Great American leaders have also spoken about the importance of the Bible in establishing morality in society.
“‘I have always said, I always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.’ Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd President of the United States.
“And Jefferson wasn’t the only early U.S. president who felt this way.
“‘So great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society.’ John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 6th President of the United States.
“In conclusion, we can see that the Bible has an enormous influence on society through its presence in culture. Biblical allusions can be found in the major works of art, fiction and poetry, music and films. Through the prevalence in both high culture and pop culture, the Bible influences society with its teachings. The Bible is indeed a highly influential book, impacting society on many levels.”
Some of the others who have attested to the value of the Bible are as follows:
Isaac Newton, English mathematician and scientist, 1642-1727: “We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever” (Libquotes.com).
Napoleon, Emperor of the French (1804-1814), 1769-1821: “The gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades every thing that opposes its extension, behold! It is upon this table: This book, surpassing all others. I never omit to read it, and every day with some pleasure” (quotefancy.com).
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, 1809-1865: “In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it” (AZquotes.com).
Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, 1856-1924: “When you have read the Bible, you know it is the word of God, because it is the key to your heart, your own happiness, and your own duty” (AZquotes.com).
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, 1858-1919: “A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education” (brainyquote.com).
President George Washington, First President of the United States: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible” (creationist.org).
Robert E. Lee, Civil War General who fought for the Southern Confederacy: “In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength” (goodreads.com).
President Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States: “Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible” (libquotes.com).
We can see above that many leaders of the past have been very enthusiastic and positive about the Word of God.
According to Wikipedia, Gideons International “is an evangelical Christian association founded in 1899 in Wisconsin. The Gideons’ primary activity is distributing copies of the Bible free of charge. This Bible distribution is a worldwide enterprise taking place in around 200 countries, territories and possessions. The association’s members focus on distributing complete Bibles, New Testaments, or portions thereof. These copies are printed in over 100 languages. The association is most widely known for its Bibles placed in lodging rooms. The Gideons also distribute to hospitals and other medical offices, schools and colleges, military bases, as well as jails and prisons. The association takes its name from the Biblical figure Gideon depicted in Judges 6.
“Members of The Gideons International currently distribute over 80 million Bibles annually. On average, more than two copies of the Bible are distributed per second through Gideons International. As of April 2015, Gideons International has distributed over two billion Bibles.”
What we have quoted is but a fraction of the evidence of the positive influence the Bible has had on so many people over such a long period of time.
As the teachings of the Bible are pretty much rejected by so many today, we can see a similar graph showing the nations’ descent into chaos and confusion. Perhaps reading and acting upon the blessings and cursings of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 might for some shine light on the principle of sowing and reaping. Also, Galatians 6:7 states: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Sowing and reaping would be just one lesson from so many that can be found in the world’s bestselling book, but would also be an enormous benefit to everyone involved in implementing such wise advice.
The rejection of such knowledge and the antipathy and antagonism shown to the Word of God brings about, not only inferior results, but also a society that will, sooner or later, be punished for their attitude and blasphemy towards the information and knowledge unsurpassed from any other source.
Amongst so many issues that are addressed by the Bible, it gives an explanation about the creation of the universe; issues guidance on which Holy Days to keep; how to live a life pleasing to God; an object lesson on problem solving whenever this is necessary; and what the future holds for mankind. (For an in-depth review and study of these and many other issues, please see our list of available booklets on our website www.eternalgod.org).
There are so many other lessons to be learned from the teachings of the Bible, and those who take note and apply them to their own lives are the real winners today.
And that is the effect that the Bible can have on us all, individually, today.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)