The Inimitable Impact Of the Bible – A Guest Post by
Thomson B Thomas
In the Greek, in which the New Testament was first written, the title for the Bible is ‘Ta Biblia’ which means ‘The Books’. It is a compendium of 66 books written in various situations, by different men from varied backgrounds and strata in society.
Yet all these books come from the same source, God Himself. The Bible is the inspired revelation of God and has had an inimitable impact on all people of all times.
Its effects are such that a world without this Word is unimaginable. Abraham Lincoln said, “The Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man”.
An understanding of its effects and other related truths are essential for an individual’s devotion and trust in the Bible.
It can be boldly said that there are no areas which are left without being impacted by the Bible and I mention a few for our encouragement and faith in the God of the Bible:
Impact of the Bible on Individuals
The Bible shows the Saviour who saves and transforms people.
The Apostle Paul calls the Bible, “The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
All humans are born into the world as fools (Proverbs 22:15), as sinners separated from God, the Source of all wisdom.
The Bible presents to us the need for our souls to be saved and introduces the Saviour. The saved are transformed by the Spirit and the Word.
The following story of an African native is well known. He was sitting in front of his hut reading his Bible when a white man passed by.
The foreigner told him that the black old book should be abandoned. In his crude style, the black man replied that it was that black book that transformed his life and otherwise, pointing to the hearth and vessels nearby he said, the white man by then would have been boiling in one of those vessels.
It was this book that saved and transformed him and his companions. Such is the power of the Bible!It can be boldly said that there are no areas which are left without being impacted by the Bible Click To Tweet
Impact of the Bible on Civilizations
The highest ideals presented in the Bible have molded civilizations down the centuries. In their book A General Introduction to the Bible, Norman Geisler and William Nix succinctly state, “The influence of the Bible and its teachings in the Western world is clear to all who study history”.
The Bible brought knowledge of the true and living God. It shows how people in the society should honor one another and live in harmony.
The Roman law which is the basis for all other laws is based on the Mosaic Law promulgated in the Bible. By these, and so many other ways the Bible has influenced nations and civilizations.
Impact of the Bible on Literature
One German poet wrote, “Sunrise and sunset, promise and fulfillment, birth and death, the whole human drama, everything is in this book…It is the Book of books, Biblia.”
It is rightly told that the Bible has penetrated literature to a degree that cannot be easily measured.
Think about the poems, prose, plays, hymns and other writings that are overtly Biblical in theme.
Along with these, think of the words, idioms, proverbs which have crept into various languages from the Bible.
Bernard Ramm says, “From the Apostolic Fathers dating from AD 95 to the modern times is one great literary river inspired by the Bible”.
The epitome of English literature, ‘the King James Version’ translated in 1611 has influenced English writings like no other book.
Further, there are few rivals in literature for classics like Paradise Lost by John Milton or the Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
In his book titled The Book that Made Your World, Vishal Mangalwadi cites an Indian literature professor and states: “Shakespeare definitely made identifiable quotations from or allusions to at least forty-two books of the Bible”.
The Bible is the fountainhead of hymnals penned by men and women like Charles Wesley, William Cowper, Fanny Crosby, and many others.
In many instances, printing, translations, works on scripts and grammar were initiated for the purpose of the publication of the Bible.
Impact of the Bible on Art and Science
Art here includes architecture, sculpture, symbolism, paintings, mosaics, monograms, frescoes, stained glass windows, and decorated manuscripts.
On all these ancient forms of art is left the indelible imprint of the Bible.
The architecture of cathedrals and basilicas of ancient and modern times, the paintings of ancient masters like Michelangelo, Rembrandt and scores like them, and artworks in catacombs were all created with the inspiration drawn from the Bible.
Also consider the influence this Book left on the life and labors of the men of science like Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Robert Boyle, etc.
Impact of the Bible on Social Reforms
Education to create a knowledgeable society was to a large extent, encouraged by the Bible.
The Sermon on the Mount has influenced people who were great reformers of nations.
The list of such men includes Mahatma Gandhi, William Wilberforce, William Carey, etc.
The removal of the practice of ‘Sati’ in India and slavery elsewhere were all energized by the love of God seen in the Bible.
The Bible-based preaching of Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Spurgeon, Billy Graham and the incessant labors of Pandita Ramabai has had lasting effects on society.
But many social evils like drug addiction, child marriage, infanticide, polygamy, and the caste system still exist as the light of the Bible is blocked by those who love darkness!
Impact of the Bible on Daily Lives
The Bible, with its instructions, illustrations, intimations, and imperatives is also the source of inspiration in the daily lives of those who have come under its sway.
It gives meaning and purpose for each day. It lifts the souls in sorrow and helps them hope to the end.
Paul says it is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for all good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The French philosopher Rousseau stated, “Behold the works of our philosophers.
With all their pompous diction, how mean and contemptible they are by comparison with the Scriptures!”
Think also of other genres – poetic, inspirational, religious, etc. – none has equaled the Bible in their impact on humanity.
Life without the Bible is languid.The Bible is the source of inspiration and joy in the daily lives of those who have come under its sway. Click To Tweet
Getting the Bible-Impact
When it is said that there is no area which is left untouched by the Holy Bible, it is necessary to state that its positive impact in individual lives can result only if there is a favorable response.
The sunlight that melts the wax also hardens mud. The favorable attitude one must have to be impacted by the Bible, suggested by the famed American Pastor Rick Warren, may be summarized in three words: accept, assimilate and apply.
Firstly, accept the Bible as the supreme authority over life. This is the decision one takes at the time of salvation. When one receives Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord, he gives complete Lordship over his life into the hands of the Lord.
The Apostle Peter reminds God’s children, “you have purified your souls in obeying the truth” (1 Peter 1:22). This means when they obeyed the gospel, they were setting their whole lives apart unto the keeping of the word of God.
They were people who were brought under the authority of the rule of God. The Bible has the supreme authority over their lives.
Secondly, assimilate the truths of the Bible. If we accept it as the supreme authority over our lives and if we do not have even an inkling of what is in it, that makes no meaning at all.
One must be familiar with its content. One must have familiarity with it just like one knows the lines on his palms.
This calls for reading, reflecting, retaining, researching, recording and radiating.
In assimilating the scripture, one should be able to say with the psalmist, “I rejoice at thy word, as one that finds great spoil” (Psalm 119.162).
Thirdly, apply the truths of the Bible. The truths of the Bible should occupy the center of our lives and have to become the regulative principle for all the movements of life.
The Psalmist says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105).
It should become the sole guide in every area of life, the authority based on which all decisions are made.
Sometimes accepting its principles may puncture our reputation or deflate our pride.
But whether convenient or inconvenient, it is the duty of a Christian to obey its edicts without questions.
Here Ezra makes a model: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).
Happy shall those be who put themselves under the authority of God’s word, to live under its influence.
This post has appeared first on Straight Paths A bi-monthly magazine published from Mumbai
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