Realizing there were six floors to explore inside Washington, D.C.’s new Museum of the Bible rapidly transformed this mild-mannered grandma into a Super Nerd! I leaped from exhibit to exhibit in single bounds while my brain struggled to process new information faster than a speeding bullet.
I thought I understood the Bible’s impact on government, culture, social justice, and personal transformation until my thinking became overwhelmed by a vast mountain of evidence. Every exhibit testified loudly to the profound truth found in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.” (CSB)
Other books have greatly impacted the world; books such as Harriett Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her fictional work came in second behind the Bible as the best-selling book in 1852. It opened eyes and hearts to the cruelty of slavery. After the Civil War began, Abraham Lincoln met with Stowe and supposedly said, “So, you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
However, no other book has sold more copies or been translated into more languages than God’s Word.
No other book is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. No other book is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
No other book is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
So, after filling my brain with incredible facts about ancient scrolls, manuscripts, artifacts, and historical tidbits, what was my favorite exhibit? Probably not what you might expect. The display that moved me most began with a simple penetrating question. After all, isn’t the Bible really all about connecting our heart to God’s?
As I entered a separate, self-contained area, I noticed a gigantic computer screen covering the entire wall continuously scrolling single, multi-colored words. In the center of the room was a large table with a touch-screen top. At the top of that screen was a heading and a thought-provoking question that read,
IN A WORD
How does the Bible make you feel?
So, with pointer fingers held out and single words in their minds, people young and old stepped forward to write their answers on the screen. What one word would you write to answer that question? As each scribe finished, they patiently watched and waited for their word to slowly drift across the giant screen, I was mesmerized. Not so much by the words, but by the reactions of the word writers.
There was a young blonde-haired girl, maybe five years old, who heard her older brother read the question out loud. She tilted her head and cut her eyes to the ceiling as if picturing the answer in her mind. When her aha moment arrived she hurriedly asked her brother, “How do you spell ‘BE GOOD’.” I had to smile because I had once, not so long ago, been just like her. I believed the Bible was my rule book for living rather than a love letter from God motivating me to wholeheartedly love Him, myself, and others. Who knew that changing that one filter in my thinking would be what eventually cracked the hard, legalistic shell surrounding my many layers of freedom?
A woman in her thirties stepped toward the table. She wore a modest, but bold expression of extreme confidence as her mind finally settled on an appropriate word. She seemed satisfactorily affirmed by her choice. I couldn’t wait to see what she had written. I leaned forward to catch a glimpse. Ah! It was a mighty fine word – EMPOWERED. I couldn’t help but think of 1 John 4:4, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Perhaps, the Word had taken up residence in her and filled her with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the museum, people from seemingly every tribe and nation wandered about speaking a multitude of languages. I’m always amazed at how they are able to master our English language well enough to maneuver a foreign city while I struggle to have Americans understand my Southern accent!
Finally, a much older gentleman caught my attention as he curiously leaned over the table. He was much darker than me. I wondered what country he might be from. Perhaps, middle-Eastern? I wasn’t sure. He read the question and then pondered it for quite a long while. It was as if the question struck something deep inside. As he thought, his brow wrinkled, his eyes misted, and he began to write. Seeing his answer penetrated my heart and moved me. The Bible made him feel FREE! Oh, how I identified with that!
As I watched people continuing to write their words I recalled what Pastor Chris Hodges often says, “We don’t run on our feelings, but it sure is good to feel what we’re running on!” Every feeling the Bible evokes is highly personal, and the only wrong answer is no answer at all. I knew the word I would write as soon as I read the question.
I knew that more than anything else God’s word had taught me just how much He endlessly loves me. Now don’t get me wrong! His words continue to convict and modify my behavior, but only because my love for Him continues to grow deeper and deeper. I am motivated by His love. I run on His love. His love changed my have-to to want-to. His love empowers me to live courageously. His love set me free! And His love continues to peel back layer after layer of freedom. I’m counting on Him to continue that process until He comes back for me!
He will do the same for you. Every single day absorb a piece of His heartfelt love letter written to you, and fall in love all over again – Every. Single. Day.
You know the question I have to ask this week, right?
IN A WORD
How does the Bible make you feel?
Please respond in the “Leave a Reply” section below. I can’t wait to see your word!
This week read through the book of Galatians. It’s almost Independence Day!