Christian Billionaire’ David Green Also Known As The Biblical Billionaire Created The First Museum Of The Bible
At the end of his Gospel, the Apostle John said,
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
You could probably say much the same thing about the Bible—that no single place could adequately convey its impact, history, and unforgettable narratives. But that isn’t stopping an ambitious and expert team from trying.
The grand opening of the massive, 430,000-square foot, state-of-the-art Museum of the Bible in our nation’s capital was on November 17. This is a project of an interfaith, international team of scholars. The Museum has an external board of advisors and works with Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, and other religious and secular institutions.
The museum is simply an innovative, global, educational institution with the aim of inviting all people, of faith and no faith alike, to engage with the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible.
This elegant museum located in the Capitol Hill cost $500 million to build, and a sight will convince you why so much money was invested in this project. From the breath-taking exhibits, hi-tech LED screens, and tons of ancient artifacts and precious manuscripts. You’ll be amazed and amused standing in one of the most iconic museums in the world.
A Peek Inside the Museum
Each of the six floors in the museum contains a different exhibit which emphasizes different aspects of the Bible's history or impact. This includes three permanent exhibit floors, each measuring 55,000 square feet (5,100 m²).
The first floor combines ancient artifacts with modern technology meant to immerse the participant in the Bible. The front entrance on 4th Street SW features 40-foot (12 meters) tall, 2.5 ton (2,300 kg) bronze front doors with stained glass art containing a relief depicting the creation account in Genesis.
There is also a grand lobby with a 200-foot (60 meters) LED ceiling allowing for changing visual effects and messages.
The second floor focuses on the Bible's impact on world culture and history. The third level presents the general narrative of the Bible from Abraham through the creation of Israel to the ministry of Jesus and the early church.
This floor contains a large Jewish Bible section. The fourth floor presents biblical history and archaeology. Trobisch stated that the museum "will not whitewash conflicts in Christian history but will explain the arguments that were made at the time". The fifth level contains a performing arts theater with a 500-person amphitheater.
The museum plans to sponsor scholarly lectures as well as multimedia performances relating to the Bible. The fifth floor also contains separate exhibit space for displays presented by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Level six consists of a rooftop viewing areas overlooking the National Mall and U.S. Capitol, stained glass exhibits, and a ballroom that seats 1,000 guests. The museum's artifact research facility and reference library is located in a one-story addition to the roof of a neighboring office complex.
Why So Much, And Why Now?
David Green, Hobby Lobby president and Museum of the Bible founder, told Christianity Today in an interview:
It was surprising to us that a book this influential didn’t yet have a major museum focused on it,
“The Bible has influenced nearly every aspect of our world, from the arts and culture to business and entertainment to healthcare, education, and government. We hope to create the kind of museum that would share this book we love with as many people as possible.”
One can not help but notice the strategic location of this state of the art Museum—located just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol Hill and two blocks from the National Mall— it comes not a moment too soon.
The Relevance Of The Museum In Reviving Biblical Literacy
It is no longer news that biblical illiteracy is running rampant in the culture. New Testament scholar David Nienhuis states,
Christian leaders have been lamenting the loss of general biblical literacy in America. … Much to our embarrassment, however, it has become increasingly clear that the situation is really no better among confessing Christians, even those who claim to hold the Bible in high regard.
Indeed. Gallup and Castelli call us “a nation of biblical illiterates.” But one can not be too curious to ask, is biblical literacy that important?
No one has a better answer than a couple of American Founders. First is what John Adams, our second president, noted, he said
The Bible contains the most profound philosophy, the perfect morality, and the most refined policy that ever was conceived upon earth.
And here’s what physician, social reformer, and signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush said:
The Bible contains more truths than any other book in the world.
Of course, many in our postmodern world don’t believe that and dismiss the Bible out of hand—but maybe that’s partly because they’ve never had the opportunity to engage with it. Museum of the Bible gives them that opportunity, this done not by cajoling “religion” down someone’s throat, but by presenting the Bible as the best-selling, most debated, most influential book of all time.
Back in the day, you weren’t considered educated if you didn’t know the Bible. It’s still true today, and Museum of the Bible will step in to fill that knowledge gap for Christians and non-Christians alike.
So kudos to Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and for the thousands of people of many faiths who helped make it a reality. The Bible is the most influential, beloved, and profound book in the world, and it is a joy to have a gleaming new museum fit to tell its world-changing story today.
We invite you to visit it, with your family and friends, even more at this festive season of Thanksgiving and soon, Christmas.