It happened 30 years ago, yet many are likely to be as oblivious to this event as I was. On February 3, 1983, then President Ronald Reagan designated 1983 as the national “Year of the Bible” at the National Prayer Breakfast. Not since the founding of this nation has anything of this magnitude been requested by our Congress! Public Law 97-280, approved October 4, 1982, cited that the Bible “has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed people” and even quoted President Andrew Jackson’s words that the Bible is “the rock on which our Republic rests.” This public law also acknowledged a “national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures!” Sadly, in May, 2009, a similar attempt to make 2010 “The National Year of the Bible” failed to make it out of committee. What a difference 28 years makes!
My interest in this major event prompted me to determine if it had any effect on our nation. In research it was discovered that the annual average number of crimes reported from 1980-82 was 13.2 million. In 1983 this number dropped to 12.1 million and in 1984 it dropped even lower to 11.8 million. Murder alone dropped by 20% over this time period. In 1985, crime statistics began to climb back to pre-1983 numbers (UCR Crime Statistics). Is this connected to the increased emphasis on the Bible at our national leadership level? Only God knows. I prefer to think that “as the leadership goes, so goes the nation.”
Those who spend time in the Scriptures know their tremendous value. Nothing endures like God’s word (Isaiah 40:8), in that it “endures forever”… Jesus speaks of this when He said that heaven and earth will pass away but my word will never pass away (Mark 13:31). King David, a man after God’s own heart stated that God’s word was a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) This same Godly man knew that hiding God’s word in his heart would help him refrain from sinning against Him (Psalm 119-11). There are many who hold a sense of uncertainty as to what basis we are to be judged by when standing before the Judgment Seat of God. These would benefit greatly in knowing that the word which Jesus spoke would be used to judge us (John 12:28). Knowing this should bring a greater appreciation for the true value of the Bible!
My friend, the Bible is priceless and I’m convinced that if more of our leaders at the state and national levels embraced the true value of the Bible we would regain much, if not all, of what we have lost in the past 60-plus years. God will only bless America, when America blesses God!
Copyright © 2013, Nolan P. Rutter