Who should care about the Bible?
BY BRAD YOUNG
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
1/30/13 at 3:40 AM
A History Channel television special this month took a look at "101 Objects that Changed the World." Think through all the amazing things in our world that have influenced mankind and try to guess what earned the top spot.
It was not Einstein's brain, which placed at No. 8. Nor was it the Rosetta Stone, which came in third. It was not even the invention of hard currency, which was runner-up to the winner. No, the "object" that was deemed to have had the greatest impact on our world was the Bible.
Perhaps this first-place finish is surprising to some, but it is undeniable that the most-banned, most-debated, best-selling book of all time has had an impact on every facet of our culture - from government and the arts to science, literature and languages.
Yet despite the Bible's significance, a variety of sources, including a 2005 Barna Group study and a 2007 Time Magazine cover story, indicate that biblical literacy in America is abysmal. The late Christian author, radio commentator and world view thought leader Chuck Colson often lamented that his fellow Christians were ignorant of the text that is the basis of their own faith.
Furthermore, a 2012 Pew Forum study found that one of America's fastest-growing religious groups is that which has no faith at all - the so-called "nones," who are at a record one-fifth of the U.S. public. Of what importance should the Bible be to this ever-growing group under a changing religious landscape?
Even in a city like Tulsa - in a state considered part of our nation's Bible belt - mystery about the Great Book abounds. Could it be that the Bible is seen by many of our neighbors to be less and less relevant in our modern era?
Yet I would contend that in this modern information age, it makes no sense that educated people wouldn't know more about this book. What truly cultured person wouldn't want to know more about a book that has made such an indelible impact on our world as we know it?
This Wednesday through Saturday, Tulsans of all faiths, or no faith, will have an opportunity for an up-close look at this book that has altered history and changed lives, as Oral Roberts University hosts a free exhibit of more than 50 of the world's rarest biblical antiquities.
Called Sacra Pagina (the Sacred Page) and including items from Oklahoma City's The Green Collection, the world's largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts named for the founders of the Hobby Lobby retail chain, the exhibit will use a series of rare biblical treasures to tell the story of biblical translation and scholarship throughout history. Kicking off the first day of the exhibit will be a free lecture by renowned biblical texts expert Dr. Jerry Pattengale of The Green Collection.
Items of great biblical and historical significance brought together under one roof at this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit in Tulsa include:
The Bible has something to offer everyone: from the believer to the skeptic, from the scholar to the schoolchild. Other books, both fiction and non-fiction, have helped generations of readers understand their world, see others through a more accurate lens and consider ideas outside of their own. But no book in history can approach the profound, far-reaching impact of the Bible.
- Greek papyri dating from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD;
- A leaf from the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, one of the world's earliest and most extensive copies of the New Testament, which was written in the language of early Christians, Palestinian Aramaic;
- A leaf from the first printing of the Gutenberg Bible;
- The Aitken Bible, the first complete Bible printed in English in America.
Brad Young is professor of biblical literature in the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry at Oral Roberts University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first printed English Bible in America, the Aitken Bible, will be on display as part of the Sacra Pagina (the Sacred Page) exhibit at Oral Roberts University through Saturday. The exhibit is located in the Conference Banquet Center in the south lobby of the Mabee Center, 8023 S. Lewis Ave. Courtesy
Brad Young: The Bible has something to offer everyone: from the believer to the skeptic, from the scholar to the schoolchild