The end of this video is great.
These Beatles fans are asked, “Have you ever been this crazy about any other entertainer?”
They respond with such refreshing honesty when they say, "No. That’s what’s so amazing. We don’t know why we’re like this?”
What artist or entertainer has made you crazy? It’s part of being human. From time to time, people or songs or events can make us crazy. It can be hard to explain why.
Why do these Christians care so much about the Bible?
The Youtube notes of the first video interpret one woman as saying, "Thanks be to God, we need this book so much. When I see this book, I think of the brothers and sisters who have helped us and brought this to us with their blood and spirit. This is what our church needs so much right now."
Why do they care so much? It's not the Bible's popularity. Instead, they need the Bible because they have witnessed its power to transform. (Now, I’m not writing this post to douse current manifestations of Beatlemania. Did you see those poor British cops getting trampled by those teenage girls? I can’t explain it nor will I try to stop it.)
I am writing to help us remember why a person can care so much about having and reading a Bible. There is power to transform in this book.
The Bible has transformed our language. The 1611 King James Bible has already introduced dozens of phrases we use every day and take for granted, like: ‘From time to time’; ‘fell flat on his face’; ‘a thorn in the flesh’; ‘a drop in the bucket’; ‘a broken heart’; & ‘the powers that be.’
The Bible has transformed art. Terry Glaspey’s “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know” catalogs art and artists whose art & personal lives were deeply transformed by the Bible.
The Bible has transformed people & nations toward the Good. Everyone has a sense that something is wrong with the world. The Bible echoes this sense of injustice. The Words of the Bible have somehow powerfully transformed people and nations toward Goodness and Justice. The following historical figures, many Christian, a few not, recognized the Bible’s transformative power:
Dr. John T Fisher said this of one well-known sermon in the Bible: “If you were to take the sum total of all the authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene - if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. And it would suffer immeasurably by comparison.”
The philosopher Immanuel Kant said of the Bible: “[It is the] greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced.”
The Bible in general, and Jesus' practice of non-violent resistance in particular, empowered Martin Luther King Jr. to champion the American Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s & 60’s. He said, “The Bible is full of many profound truths which one cannot escape.”
William Wilberforce, a British politician in the late 1700 to early 1800’s, led the movement to abolish slavery across the British Empire. The Bible was the primary transformative power in his life and mission. “How can you measure the value of the good news of Christ? It is spoken of in the Bible as light in the darkness, freedom from slavery and life from death. Look at how much the Early Church valued the message. They received it with great joy and overflowing gratitude.”
You may know that Martin Luther King Jr. was influenced greatly by Gandhi, who himself said to Christians regarding the Bible: “You look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet, but you treat it [the Bible] as though it were nothing more than a piece of literature.”
Gandhi makes two worthwhile observations:
First, he recognizes the transformative power of the Bible. Gandhi sees that the Bible is everywhere and carefully looked after by many Christians. It is the most popular Book. It is precious for what it tells us. But Gandhi recognizes that this book can bring seismic change to individuals and nations for Good and Justice.
Second, he observes this power is potential energy. The Bible's dynamite power doesn't ignite within the individual if they refuse to read. The individual must read it first for their own transformation. It’s not hard to call to mind examples of believers who have abused the Bible to harm others or who simply ignore the truth in front of them. The Bible has the power to transform, but not for those who set it aside. Choosing to not read the Bible leaves one no better off than those who are unable to read the Bible.
The Bible's power to transform is a reason not to read:
An Old Testament prophet tells about God promising that His Word would transform his people for the better. God tells this prophet, Jeremiah, to write down His Words so people can read them. Except that the king at the time seems to not read God's Word for this very reason. He rejects this awesome power of transformation by not reading. He shuns God's good authority and chooses instead to burn the Words of God. But the king's small blaze does not extinguish the fire in Jeremiah's bones. The king is unable to undo the transformation the Word has wrought upon Jeremiah. Picking up the Bible is a choice to undergo a transformation.
The Bible is popular; it is precious for what it tells us. Most of all, it is the Good Book for what it does to us. So pick up this power and read. Be open to how it will transform your attitude, your perspective of your past, your hopes for the future. Through His Word, God can transform you for the good.