Tennessee: We have beautiful mountains, Southern hospitality, a church on every corner, and sweet tea. The state where we don’t pay income tax, our vehicle tag renewal is among the least expensive in the nation, and the requirements for a carry permit are stringent enough that I can legally carry in 38 states. By far I think Tennessee is the greatest state in the union.
Then there is the Bible. For the last few years, Tennessee has been home to no fewer than 3 top ten cities for Bible-mindedness. We are a state that loves the Bible. We are the home of the headquarters for the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of God (Cleveland). Even people who are only nominal Christians and many who don’t subscribe to any faith own a Bible or have a greater level of biblical literacy than most others in the country.
Tennessee’s lawmakers love the Bible so much that they think it should represent the state as the official book. The governor also believes it is an important book, but he vetoed the bill that would have made it the state book.
AND I’M GLAD ABOUT IT!
Let me be clear about my feelings on the Bible. I love the Bible. I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and is sufficient to produce all knowledge that is needed for salvation. I believe the Bible is the most profound book ever written. The 40 authors who wrote over a period of 1,550 years on a variety of topics, across three continents, from different socio-economic backgrounds, and facing different contexts managed to write a book that tells the story of mankind and God’s redemption with perfect harmony. I received a bachelor of science degree with a major in the Bible. I’ve read the Bible, hand copied portions of the Bible, written on biblical issues, and taught the Bible to a variety of audiences. I regularly defend the Bible in my writing, and I teach an apologetics group about the historical, scientific, and philosophical proof for the veracity of the Bible teaches.
I LOVE THE BIBLE!
I love the Bible enough that I don’t want it to be the book that represents my state though. I love Tennessee and I love the Bible, but just because I love both of them doesn’t mean they should go together so well.
The state has a responsibility to its citizens. In Tennessee we have Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Sheiks, Taoists, Agnostics, Atheists, and many more varieties of people who hold different beliefs. The state needs to represent those people with unbiased tenacity. To declare the Bible the official book of our state means that our government is holding Christianity to a higher place of honor than all other faiths and non-faiths in our state.
Before deciding that the Bible should represent our state, we should also consider the thesis of the Bible. What is the purpose statement we find for the Christian Scriptures? We only need to read it to know its purpose: “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 ESV.
The Bible is for Christians to know what they believe, how to direct believers into the way they live out their faith, and to correct a wayward believer when necessary so that Christians can go out and obey the Great Commandment to Love God and Love People so that in our good works God will be glorified.
Tennessee is my state; The Bible is my book. I believe the Bible has a lot to say to the people in Tennessee, and I love that Tennessee and the United States of America protect my right to own, read, and believe the Bible. The relationship between the state and the Bible should stop there.
I know some people will disagree with me, and I’m glad you do. Let’s talk about it in the comments section below or the social media post where you found this.