The Bible has been under full-out assault for centuries and it continues to be misrepresented, ridiculed and attacked today. It is the most banned and burned book in the world, yet it continues to be the best-selling book in the world! It is the most hated and the most cherished book of all time.
The Bible just finished in sixth place in the top ten list of books most objected to at public schools and libraries. This places the Bible in a classification of books that also includes the sex-charged, “Fifty Shades of Gray,” two transgender books (one with pictures!), and another one called “Two Boys Kissing.” Ironically, some people cited the “sex and violence” in the Bible as their reason for objecting to its use. Had these people read the Bible, or perhaps read it more carefully, they would know that it takes a very different approach to sex and violence than do these other books. The Bible consistently condemns the various forms of illicit sexual conduct that are condoned and encouraged in other opposed books. It stands in such stark contrast with them that it is utterly nonsensical for it to be classified with them.
Some objected to the Bible for a different reason: They claim that having taxpayers pay for Bibles constitutes a violation of the church and state separation clause of the US Constitution. If so, public schools and libraries will have to remove far more books than just the Bible. To be consistent they will need to also remove copies of the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Bhagavad Gita, books on spiritual self-help, Spiritism, the Paranormal, the Occult, Satanism…etc, for they also have a spiritual/religious component. Of course, no movement is calling for the removal of these other books, and we know why. They are not a threat to these people. The Bible is one of the top ten challenged books, not because it is like the other books in the classification, but because it is itself so challenging to all who objectively read it.
What This Movement Is Really About
To those who are familiar with the tactics of secular humanists, the truth is obvious. These objectors aren’t really concerned that the Bible addresses “sexual or violent” behavior. They certainly aren’t concerned about the Constitution. What they really want is for access to the Bible to be hindered, and perhaps even denied. They are threatened by the very presence and availability of the Bible. Like their Bible banning and burning predecessors, free agency is not enough for them. It is not enough that they can personally choose to ignore the Bible and even denounce it if they wish. They want more than that. They want other people’s access to the Bible to be denied (so much for “liberalism” and freedom of thought!). They want the Bible to be completely removed from society. We should not be surprised. As we will see, history is filled with people who have attempted to eradicate the Bible from the earth. They all failed miserably. “All flesh is as grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached to you” (1 Peter 1:24, 25).
Some Reasons Why People Seek To Disparage And Destroy The Bible:
Because of its pronouncements of judgment against sin and sinners. Most people
hate being accountable for their actions. This irresponsible mentality has trickled
up into our government to the point that its irresponsible spending is threatening
our national security. Too many people, acting either individually or collectively,
want to live their lives without having to face any consequences for their thoughts,
words and deeds. The Bible is despised by such people, for it represents itself
as the standard of divine judgment against sin and sinners — “The
one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that
I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (John 12:48; see also Romans
2:16 & Revelation 22:12). While most people deal with this in a non-violent
way, by simply avoiding the Bible, others take more extreme measures. Jeremiah
36 tells the story of king Jehoiakim’s reaction to the reading of Jeremiah’s
scroll. The scroll contained “judgments against Israel and Judah and all
of the nations” (v. 2). The first effort to stifle this information was
to “ban” Jeremiah from entering the house of the Lord (v. 5). Because
of this ban, Jeremiah sent his penman, Baruch, to read the scroll to the people.
The scroll eventually made its way to king Jehoiakim. Jeremiah 36:23 says, “As
Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife
and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed
in the fire that was in the fire pot.” Jehoiakim obviously decided that
since he couldn’t stop the messenger(s), then he would destroy the actual
message. His efforts failed, for God later instructed Jeremiah to make a replacement
scroll, which he did (vs. 27, 28), and with additional information (v. 32).
One added point had to do with Jehoiakim and his posterity — He would
die a miserable death and none of his seed would occupy the throne of Judah
(vs. 29, 30).
Because of the political threat. The Bible is not a political document, but its teaching does affect people, hence the perceived threat by godless rulers and governments. Christians “serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:24) before any earthly king or official. This makes faith a threat to worldly leaders. The 4th Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes, who reigned from 175-163 BC, tried to Hellenize the Jews. His actions backfired and led to Jewish nationalism and the Maccabean revolt. Antiochus knew that the Jewish people derived faith and encouragement from the Scriptures so he attempted to destroy all copies of the book of the Law. All copies that were found wore torn to pieces and burned. Anyone found with a copy of the book of the Law was executed.
A similar thing later happened under the Roman government. From the reigns of Trajan to Constantine (98AD - 300AD), Christianity was banned by Rome. Oppression became particularly bad under the Roman ruler Diocletian, who ordered that all copies of the Scriptures be burned and that anyone in possession of a Bible be killed.
Because of the religious / ideological threat. Strict (Sharia compliant) Muslims
have always burned Bibles and persecuted and/or killed its adherents. ISIS (Islam
State of Iraq and Syria) has burned “mountains” (thousands) of Bibles,
as reported by the media and shown on various internet websites. They have also
decreed the death penalty for anyone who is caught reading the Bible. ISIS and
their Islamic affiliate terror groups are presently waging a genocidal war of
slaughter against “Christians” Thousands have been killed in the
Middle East, parts of Africa and elsewhere. These people know that Islam and
the Quran cannot compete with the Bible on the open ground of honest dialogue
and debate. Islam’s survival depends upon the elimination of all Bibles
and all Bible teaching from the areas where they live and from the areas that
they wish to conquer.
During the early 1500’s, the Catholic church burned thousands of copies of the Bible because they did not want it translated into common languages. The papacy thought that the dissemination of the Scriptures into the hands of common people would cause more harm than good. The Tyndale version was expressly denounced. One historian says that of the estimated 18,000 copies printed between 1525 and 1528, only two fragments are known to remain.
Because of personal bias stemming from one’s own misunderstanding of
the Bible. Thomas Paine (United States, 1737-1809) and Voltaire (France, 1694-1778)
may well fit into this category. Both were Deists, thus they rejected the notion
of divine intervention in the universe or interaction in the affairs of men.
Paine argued that it was beneath the nature and integrity of God to speak to
humans in a book. In his own book, The Age of Reason, Paine argues against the
Bible and its chief doctrines. He became a leading critic of the Bible. His
motivation was likely rooted in the political climate of his time. Paine was
a leading proponent of American independence from Great Britain. This is well
documented in his popular pamphlet, “Common Sense.” Paine despised
the concept of kingly authority, and was particularly opposed to the concept
of a royal monarchy. Paine scoffed at the notion of an 8 or 10 year old “boy
king” presiding over a great nation, which sometimes happened in royal
monarchies. England followed the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, which
asserted that the king spoke as God and that it was sinful for men to defy the
king. Proponents of the doctrine of “divine rights” relied upon
the Old Testament Scriptures for their model and authority. Some of the kings
of Israel and Judah were “boy kings.” Josiah was a “boy king”
(2 Chronicles 34:1), but he listened to God and was a great reformer in Judah.
Paine’s mistake was in his ignorance of the reason for Israel’s
kings and in his rejection of God’s direct involvement in the Jewish Theocracy.
God had provided judges to rule over Israel, but the Jews rejected the judges
and requested to be ruled by kings, like the other nations. God allowed the
Jews to have their kings, not as a blessing, but as a punishment (see 1 Samuel
8). Jesus Christ is the last divinely appointed King, and He is no ordinary
king — He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation
19:16). God is not today miraculously setting up and deposing earthly kings
and kingdoms. He works today through people that are guided by His revealed
word (Philippians 2:13). Had Paine been more careful in his analysis of the
Scriptures, perhaps he would have made the distinction between the theocratic
system of the Old Testament and the spiritual kingdom of the New Testament (John
Voltaire was not always a critic of the Bible. His criticisms were originally directed against the corruptions of the religious clergy. He apparently began to make unwarranted connections between the false religious practices of his day and the Bible itself. One thing led to another and he turned on the Bible. He became Europe’s strongest critic of the Bible. He predicted that Christianity would be eradicated within one hundred years of his death. Like the Bible foes before him, he and his predictions failed. The advent of the internet has made the Bible more readily available in more translations and languages than at any time in the history of man.
Because of its popularity and influence. Jealous of the early church’s
phenomenal growth, Jewish leaders ordered first century apostles to “not
speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18; 5:28). The apostles
and other Christians of course refused to comply (Acts 4:20; 5:28). Jesus, speaking
in the context of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, said that the gospel
would be preached “in all the world as a witness to all nations”
(Matthew 24:14). By the end of Paul’s life, the gospel had been preached
throughout the known world (Colossians 1:23). Today, in spite of the fierce
vocal and physical opposition to it, the Bible continues to be the best selling
book on the earth. People all over the world use it as their spiritual and moral
Because it purports to be the inspired and all-sufficient Word and will of God — “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). While many people are comfortable admitting that the Bible is a “good book,” they refuse to acknowledge its supernatural authorship. It is the Bible’s claim of divine authorship and all-sufficiency that makes it unique among other religious works and it also makes it especially despised by many.
Because it contains an absolute and rigid standard of ethics and morality — “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20). This “light” is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). In this so-called “enlightened” and “live-and-let-live” age, this may well be the primary reason for rejection of the Bible. People hate being told that their actions are wrong. The Bible is despised for the firmness and plainness with which it distinguishes right from wrong. They object to the Bible because they hate the sense of guilt that they develop upon reading or hearing its message. They do not want to feel guilty about being the way they want to be and doing the things they want to do. They believe that their lives would be better and easier if the Bible didn’t exist. The more reasonable among this group are content with just ignoring the Bible and those who teach it, while others would like to see it obliterated from the earth.
Because it purports to be “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). According to other passages in this book, this belief is not a dead faith, but an obedient faith (Romans 1:5; 2:8; 15:18; 16:26). The purpose of the gospel is to teach people what they need to know, do and not do in order to be saved from their sins and to ultimately be at home with their Creator in Heaven — “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). While the notion of salvation from sin may be pleasant to some, there are others who are bothered by it. They are uncomfortable with the notion of “salvation,” for it implies salvation from something dangerous or bad. It implies that they are doing or have done bad things with consequences from which they must be “saved.” Sadly, many do like the idea of being saved, but don’t want to do it the Bible way. They despise the narrowness of the Bible way — “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6).
Long after Jehoiakim, Antiochus, Diocletian, Voltaire, Paine and I suspect, the current anti-Bible, school and library movement, the Bible remains and will remain. Even if we were to rely exclusively upon Paine and Voltaire’s rationalism as a means of explanation, the conclusion would be obvious: The Bible is an indestructible book. Every effort to exterminate it has failed, even efforts that have been made by very powerful and influential men and institutions. Wise people will seriously consider the Bible’s survival after the many attempts at its destruction and they will conclude that it must be the word of God. They will say with the apostle Peter, “The word of the Lord endures forever…”
Return to Bible Basics For Beginners page
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /