THE BIBLE - Its Influence
Ms. Starla Luke
“What the Bible says, God says.”
Benjamin B. Warfield.
The Guinness Book of World Records states that, since 1815, the Bible has sold approximately 2.5 billion copies and has been translated into more than 2,200 languages or dialects. The Bible is influential. It is the world’s bestselling book, breaking all records known to man.
The Bible’s influence spans religions, gender, nations, culture and is not limited to any one community. The Bible has influenced writers, irrespective of whether they believe its tenets or not. Jews and Muslims consider the Bible as sacred, despite differences in beliefs and thinking.
The influence of the Bible on society has been tremendous. It has given direction to thinkers, politicians, those in governance, lawyers and law-makers - in every age.
Jesus’ teaching on women, as recorded in the Bible, continues to be a liberating influence in many cultures. He trusted them enough to have them bear witness of His resurrection at a time when Jewish courts considered the testimony of a woman no more than a slave’s.
The Bible recognized and upheld the dignity to women where none or little existed. And the Bible continued to impact many other women to do the same. Elizabeth Fry, a Christian leader also became a social and prison reformer only because of the way the Bible impacted her thinking.
The Bible being read intently, for all its worth, caused a few people to raise their pens and voices against slavery. Today the nations that enjoy democracy do so only because of the outlook people gained after reading and studying the Bible. The very stories of nations would be different if the influence of the Bible were not seen in them.
The Bible not only shaped politics but also provided and protected the common man with laws.
There is no doubt that the Bible being a divinely inspired Word has always been a cause for transformation in individual as well as community lives.
One story of how the Bible influenced and transformed an individual life is recorded for your benefit. Koyala Veeraswamy was a rugged, unschooled, half-clad rickshaw puller. My very first memory of Veeraswamy goes back to when I saw him seated on the ground under the ‘badam’ (almond) tree in the Philadelphia compound, with my grandfather, Late Pastor P.T. Chacko. This was in Secunderabad, Telangana.
K. Veeraswamy first heard about the love of Jesus from Pastor Chacko, pedalling Pastor on his cycle rickshaw, through the streets of the twin cities. Pastor Chacko being a passionate evangelist used every opportunity to share the gospel. Veeraswamy tirelessly worked hard to make both ends meet for his family. He lived in utter poverty and spiritual darkness. Grandfather, with my mother – Mary Abraham, took it upon themselves to teach him the 3 R’s. This was done under our ‘badam’ tree, on the sand – for it seemed futile to waste paper in teaching him the alphabet and numbers.
Veeraswamy was a quick and eager learner – he not only grasped all he was taught, he also grew in his knowledge of Jesus and accepted Him as his Lord and Savior. He was renamed K. Samuel by Pastor Chacko. Samuel’s thirst to acquire the deeper knowledge of the Word of God made grandfather send him to Zion Bible School in Vijayawada for Bible training. After which, Samuel served as an evangelist in the outskirts of the city.
In January this year, some of us from the family saw and heard K. Samuel testify and declare what the Lord has done in and through his life during the past 40 years. Apostle K. Samuel, as he is known today, has lead to Christ, taught the Bible and baptized 22,900 men and women. He is a well-dressed, refined and respected person in the church and community. Today he gives leadership to the ZION FULL GOSPEL MINISTRIES that has 4 large congregations besides 10 branch churches in Telangana state. To me, this is nothing but the influence of the Bible on an individual’s life.
“The influence of the Bible is worldwide”, says ARTHUR PINK, the Christian evangelist. “Its mighty power has affected every department of human activity. The contents of the Scripture have supplied themes for the greatest poets, artists and musicians which the world has yet produced, and have been the mightiest factor of all in shaping the moral progress of the race.”
The impact of the Bible on a community was driven home when my assignment with The Bible Society of India (BSI) took me to Mizoram in November 2011. The Chief Minister of the State, Lal Thanhawla, when addressing the Executive Committee of the BSI, recalled how the entire community were headhunters until a hundred years ago. He went on to state that it was the Bible that transformed them from headhunters into a peace loving Christian people group. The influence of the Bible in Mizoram is so strong that any person contesting the secular political elections today, has to have good standing in the Christian community and be a active communicant member of his or her church.
As a church and community that has grown in dependence on the Bible, may we continue to do so, knowing that our dependence will only influence future generations for Christ in a world that is drifting far away from this reality.
Matthew 5:13-14 exhorts us to be the ‘salt and light’ of the earth. The Word in us will make us the salt and light in this insipid and dark world. May we each be so Bible dependant that we will preach and teach His Word in its entirety. And the Bible will continue to transform individuals, families, communities, nations – an influence that will take generations into eternal life with Christ.
So, let us enable people
To HAVE the Bible
To UNDERSTAND the Bible
To LIVE the Bible – so that our world might be transformed by the power of God’s Word and Love.