Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 23, 2010

A Bible in Congress

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Between 1904 and 1957, there was a tradition to distribute a Bible to new members of Congress.  The tradition ceased in 1957.  I rejoice that it stopped.  Many would question why I make such a statement.

The reason for my opposition is — it was not a Bible!  It is what is called the Jefferson Bible.  It also had the title The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.  Thomas Jefferson sought to edit the New Testament.  With scissors in hand, he removed all the miracles, references to the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, the resurrection, and all such passages.  He chose only those teachings of Jesus that related to morality and ethics.  Now you know why I refuse to call it a Bible!

For a publication to bear the name Bible with a reference to the Word of God, it must “tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” as the oath goes!  Can you imagine that this book was presented to each new member of Congress by your government?  More than just the presentation, over 9,000 copies of the volume were printed by Congress!

I wish Jefferson had remained divorced from trying to edit the New Testament.  All indications reveal that Jefferson was not a believer.  If that be true, then his attempting to edit the New Testament is about as ridiculous as a ventriloquist’s dummy attempting to preach a sermon without the ventriloquist.  The doll needs life to preach.  An editor of the Bible must have the life of God within!

With all my criticism and judgment, I will give some positive response.  I am sure that Jefferson desired to show the values needed in our nation, and for Congress to pattern their conduct after the teachings of Jesus  would bring about a more moral nation.  But why didn’t Jefferson simply write a code of conduct or suggest guidelines of how to live and relate to your fellow citizens?  After all, as the primary drafter of our Constitution, any document he would have presented would have been respected!

And too, I would rejoice if these moral and ethical teaching of Jesus were lived and practiced by those who give leadership to our government!  Perhaps it would aid in turning our nation back toward the Creator God.  But I know that just living a more moral and ethical life will not be sufficient.  There must be a change of heart. One thing President Jimmy Carter did for our nation was make known the meaning of being born again!  It is from that experience that the power comes to live the teachings of Jesus!

So, should we desire that those in Congress at least get those teachings?  I would be supportive, but not with a title Jefferson Bible.  However, new members of Congress are getting it!  That’s right, the newly elected members are receiving a copy.  But it is not given by our government.  They are sent privately by a man, a Christian, who does not infer that this is the Holy Bible, but that it is a book of core values upon which our nations was founded. 

Let us remember that it is not the Bible that makes the man or the nation — it is only the One who is revealed through the Bible!  May God bless those who serve who seek to reveal the character of Jesus, not because of reading the Book, but because of their personal relationship with Him!  And may their tribe increase!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness . . . .”  (2 Timothy 3:16)  “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.”  (Psalm 119:9) 



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