A day at the Museum of the Bible
Author: Helen Man
Translator: Kim Ng
My family and I have recently visited the Museum of the Bible. It was an amazing experience. This museum was built with the support of more than fifty thousands loving Christians, including the CEO of Hobby Lobby, Steve Green, and his family. It took 6 years to build this museum and finally made its grand opening to the public in 2017. The museum‘s 430,000-square-foot building is located just three blocks from the US Capitol in Washington, DC. This is one of the most technologically advanced and engaging museums in the world. It showcases rare and fascinating artifacts and items spanning 4,000 years of history, and offers visitors an immersive and personalized experience with the Bible.
When you push open the 40-foot-high bronze door carved in Hebrew words, and step into the magnificent lobby, you will immediately feel the indescribable atmosphere of majesty. You would be surrounded by colorful digital screens on the ceilings and in the elevators.
The museum displays 40,000 rare Bible manuscripts and biblical treasures, including fragments of The Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient Torah scrolls and the first edition of the Bible. There are also replicas reflecting the time of Jesus in the first century Nazareth.
You may watch a movie that “drives you through history” by clearly describing the life of Hebrew people in the Bible.
You can learn about spiritual heroes such as Billy Graham from the U.S. and Watchman Nee from China. Children are motivated to learn about the Bible through games.
So what kind of book is the Bible? What does it mean to us?
A few fascinating and unique facts about the Bible came to my mind.
Old Testament: There are 39 books in total, divided into four categories: Law (17 books), History books, Poetry (or Wisdom books) (5 books) and Prophets (17 books)
New Testament: A total of 27 books, divided into different categories:
- The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
- History Book – Acts of the Apostles.
- Paul’s Epistles – Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.
- Other Epistles – Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude.
- The Book of Revelation.
All Scripture Is God-breathed beyond Time & Space
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news…” (Isaiah 61:1) The 66 books of the Bible were written by more than 40 different authors over the duration of more than 1600 years. The Old Testament started in 1440BC and was mainly written in Hebrew with a small portion in Aramaic. Yet the New Testament ended in 397AD and was written in Greek. The Old Testament was completed hundreds of years before Jesus was born, and the New Testament began after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The main theme of the Bible is to demonstrate the great love of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Each book of the Bible was written independently at a different time and place, including the prison in Rome and Patmos Island. The authors had different backgrounds and vocations including kings, politicians, priests, philosophers, lawyers, tax officers, fishermen, doctors, and prophets. The authors did not know that the books were assembled later into one anthology, namely the Bible. Though the time spans of many books are so far apart, the books are cohesive, consistent and free of error as a whole.
The underlying theme resounds throughout the whole Bible over 3,000 times: All Scripture is God-breathed by the only one true God who created the universe.
Prophecies Fulfilled One by One
“For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 2:21) No biblical prophecies come from anyone’s own interpretation. Some authors of the Bible did not even understand the content because they wrote about things that would happen many generations later.
The Bible is a book of accurate prophecies from God as each occurrence unfolds in time. Empires rose and fell such as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome as they were foretold in the Book of Daniel, which had been written 2,700 years ago.
The prophecies were fulfilled later one by one. That’s absolutely God’s revelation. The prophecy concerning the present and the future will also be fulfilled. Jesus Christ said 2,000 years ago: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matt 24:7-8).
Aren’t we facing these adversities today?
Profoundly Deep Yet Easy to Understand
So many great scholars and theologians throughout history have devoted their whole lives to studying the Bible, but they haven’t been able to understand and discover all the mysteries. On the other hand, the Bible is so simple and easy that everyone including children, illiterates, and all walks of lives are able to understand the true meaning of the Bible. The Bible is timeless and boundaryless.
Life-changing & Life-saving
The Bible is so alive and practical. Once we know the love of God, we, like many others, would treasure the Bible and love it for lifetime; and the more we read it, the more we love it. That’s amazing grace.
The Bible can change life. The Old Testament prophesied Christ, and the New Testament manifests Christ. As the Bible says in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Whoever is moved by the Holy Spirit, would confess his sins, accept the salvation of Jesus Christ, and have eternal life as a new person. As the Bible says in Ephesians 4:23-24, “….. to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” People who knew this person before would admire and be amazed by his changes as a new person.
Withstanding in Test of Time
The content of the Bible is all-encompassing and unassailable. It includes all things from science, astronomy, physics, meteorology to medical truth. As time goes on, the more we learn about God’s creation through modern science, the more we prove the greatness and perfection of God’s creation. No wonder the Bible is the most distributed and translated book in the world. It has been printed more than 30 million copies every year and has been translated into 438 languages.
The Bible has been the most persecuted book throughout history, from the ancient Roman Empire to nowadays. It has been burned and destroyed. Christians have been killed, burned, and eaten by lions. Yet the Bible is unbeatable.
Lastly, while reflecting on the museum, my heart is deeply touched. The Bible is the Word of God, a life handbook, to show us God’s love and to save us. Let everyone in the world read it and treasure it. May the Holy Spirit, the true author of the Bible, fill us like a spring of living water so that we can live our lives to please God.