The Bible – Is It Divinely Inspired?

Part 9 - The Bible’s Influence


Dr. John E. Hoole




Every year two million visitors file past the famed Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.  As they look at the cracked bell, they read these words: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”  The inscription comes from the Bible (Leviticus 25:10).


When Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., and delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he said: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  Those words come directly from the Bible (Amos 5:24).


Outside the U.N. building in New York there is a wall bearing the inscription:


 "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore. Isaiah " 


That is a quote from Isaiah 2:4.  Micah 4:3 repeats essentially the same words:- They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.


Why does the Bible appear in these places?  Because it is the central and foundational book of Western culture, including American culture.  Everywhere we turn in the cultural past, we find the Bible.  We cannot avoid it if we tried, and we will not understand our past without a knowledge of the Bible.


George Lindbeck, former professor of theology at Yale University, once described the cultural position of the Bible in American culture this way:


“Its stories, images, conceptual patterns, and turns of phrase permeated the culture from top to bottom. This was true even for illiterates and those who did not go to church, for knowledge of the Bible was transmitted not only directly by its reading, hearing, and ritual enactment, but also indirectly by an interwoven net of intellectual, literary, artistic, folkloric, and proverbial traditions. There was a time when every educated person, no matter how professedly unbelieving or secular, knew the actual text from Genesis to Revelation”


The evidences of this cultural influence permeated every sphere of life.


Theodore Roosevelt correctly observed of the English Bible that “no other book of any kind ever written in English has ever so affected the whole life of a people.”


William Lyon Phelps (former president of Yale University):


“I thoroughly believe in a university education for both men and women; but I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible.”


The Bible has so permeated our western society that there are many common everyday sayings that are found in the pages of Scripture.  Here are only a few of them.

A man after my own heart.

1 Samuel 13:14 “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”


Nothing but skin and bones.

Job 19:19, 20 “All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.”


Escaped by the skin of my teeth.

This phrase also comes from the previous verses from Job 19.


Out of the mouths of babes.

Psalm 8:2 “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”


A time and place for everything.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”


A fly in the ointment.

Ecclesiastes 10:1 “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”


A drop in the bucket.

Isaiah 40:15 “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.”


Rise and shine.

Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”


Go the extra mile.

Matthew 5:41 “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”


United we stand. Divided we fall.

Matthew 12:25, 26 “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?”


The blind leading the blind.

Matthew 15:14 “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”


A little birdie told me.

Matthew 16:23 “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.”


The powers that be.

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”


In the twinkling of an eye.

1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”


The Bible is a book like no other.  The sacred text of Scripture can arguably be considered the most influential book ever published.  The bible is influential because it is the world’s bestselling book.


The Bible is especially influential in American society.  In the 2012 State of the Bible report released by the American Bible Society, commissioned by them and conducted by Barna Research, it was found that in America, 85% of households own a Bible.  Most families own more than one Bible, with household average of 4.3 Bibles.  The survey found that the majority of Americans (69%) believe the Bible provides answers on how to live a meaningful life.


One reason I believe the Bible is true is that it gives the experience it claims it will give us.  For example, the Bible says that God will forgive our sins – 1 John 1:9.  I believe that, and I can truly say that I have a sense of freedom from guilt.


For a couple of minutes, I want to relay the dying comments made, first, by the unsaved, and then the saved.  You will see the impact, or lack thereof, of God and His Word in their lives.


1.      Thomas Paine – noted American infidel:

“I would give worlds if I had them, that The Age of Reason had never been published.  O Lord, help me!  Christ, help me!  O God, what have I done to suffer so much?  But, there is no God!  But if there should be, what will become of me hereafter?  Stay with me, for God’s sake!  Send even a child to stay with me, for it is hell to be alone.  If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one.”


2.      Voltaire – French infidel:

His Christian physician, who cared for him in his dying moments, is quoted as saying of Voltaire:  “When I compare the death of a righteous man, which is like the close of a beautiful day, with that of Voltaire, I see the difference between bright, serene weather and a black thunderstorm.  It was my lot that this man should die under my hands.  Often did I tell him the truth.”


He quotes Voltaire saying: I am abandoned by God and man!  I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life.  Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me.  O Christ! O Jesus Christ.”


 3.     Charles IX – King of France:

The king fought the Protestant Christian Huguenots, slaughtering 15,000 in Paris and 100,000 elsewhere in France, for no other reason that that they owned Christ as their master.


The king’s last word were: “Asleep or awake, I see the mangled forms of the Huguenots passing before me.  They drip with blood  They point at their open wounds.  Oh!  That I had spared at least the little infants at the breast!  What blood!  I know not where I am.  How will all this end?  What shall I do?  I am lost forever!  I know it.  Oh, I done wrong.  God pardon me!”


4.      M. F. Rich – an atheist:

“I would rather lie on a stove and broil for a million years that go into eternity with eternal horrors that hang over my soul!  I have given my immortality for gold; and its weight sinks me into an endless, hopeless, helpless hell.”


5.      Edward Gibbons – writer of the “Decline and Fall of the Rome Empire.”

“All is dark and doubtful.”


6.      Sir Thomas Scott - Chancellor of Great Britain

΅Until this moment, I thought there was neither heaven or hell; now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”


7.      Sir Francis Newport – Head of the English Atheist Club (1555 – 1623)

“Millions of millions of years would bring me no nearer to the end of my torment … O eternity, eternity!  Forever and forever!  Oh the insufferable pangs of hell.”


7.      Talleyrand Perigord – Former prime minister of the French Republic (1754-1838)

“I am suffering the pangs of the damned.”


8.      David Strauss – Representative of German Theological Rationalism (1808-1874)

                   He did not believe in the divinity of Christ.


“My philosophy leaves me utterly forlorn.  I feel like one caught in the merciless jaws of an automatic machine, no knowing at what time one of its hammers may crush me.”


These are but a few of the dying comments of the unsaved.  I could literally present several dozen more.


Now let’s listen to some of the comments of saved people as they lay dying.


1.      Ron Haaby – my late Brother-in-Law

Shortly before he passed, my sister Patty, his wife, saw Ron looking around the room as he lay in bed, but seemingly not looking at anything specific in the room.  Patty sensed and wisely asked, “Ron, are you seeing angels?”  He said, “Yes! And they are everywhere.”


2.      Augustus Toplady: author of Rock of Ages:

“The consolations of God to such an unworthy wretch are so abundant that He leaves me nothing to pray for but a continuance of them. I enjoy heaven already in my soul.”


3.      John Quincy Adams (6th U.S. President):

When John Quincy Adams was eighty years of age a friend said to him: Well, how is John Quincy Adams? Thank you, he said, “John Quincy Adams is quite well. But the house where he lives is becoming dilapidated. It is tottering. Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it, and it is becoming quite uninhabitable. I shall have to move out soon. But John Quincy Adams is quite well, thank you.” At death he said: “This is the last of earth. I am content.”


4.      Mrs. Catherine Booth: wife of General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army:

“The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over. Do not be concerned about dying; go on living well, the dying will be right”


5.        John Bunyan: author of Pilgrim’s Progress:

“Weep not for me, but for yourselves. I go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will, through the mediation of His blessed Son, receive me, though a sinner, where I hope we shall meet to sing the new song, and remain everlastingly happy, world without end.


6.        John Calvin: the French Protestant Reformer at Geneva:

“Thou, Lord, bruisest me, but I am abundantly satisfied, since it is from Thy hand.”


7.        Adoniram Judson: American missionary to Burma. He wrote: Come, Holy Spirit, Dove Divine, and other hymns.

He died at sea and his body was committed to the great deep. He said: “I go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from school. I feel so strong in Christ.”


8.        A. J. Gordon:

As he lay in the chamber in West Brookline Street, Boston, looked up and with one radiant burst of joy cried: “Victory! Victory!” and so he went home.


9.        Dr. Sewall: an old Methodist

When dying, he shouted aloud the praises of God. His friends said, Dr. Sewall, do not exert yourself; whisper, doctor, whisper. “Let angels whisper”, said he, “but the soul cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ, a soul redeemed from death and hell, just on the threshold of eternal glory—oh, if I had a voice that would reach from pole to pole, I would proclaim it to all the world: Victory! Victory! through the blood of the Lamb!”


10.     Samuel Rutherford – Scottish Presbyterian Pastor of the 17th century:

When he was dying said: “I am in the happiest pass to which man ever came. Christ is mine, and I am His; and there is nothing now between me and resurrection, except—Paradise.”


When you or I die, on what side of the ledger will our words be?  The Bible, empowered by the Holy Spirit, changes lives.  The Bible can put lives back together.  Millions of people around the world are proof that this is true -- from great heads of state to brilliant educators -- from philosophers and writers to generals and historians.  They can all attest to the fact that the Bible has changes their lives.


The Bible’s effectiveness in people’s lives is a very powerful claim for its infallibility.


Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV


10     For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11     So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.