The Bible has helped change the world in a number of ways.1 Here are a few examples:
- Many laws were initially based on the teachings of the Bible.2
- Slavery was abolished by people who saw it contradicted what the Bible taught about the worth of all people.3
- Science has been encouraged by many Biblically minded scientists.4
- The Bible has also influenced literature5 and language,6 and inspired art.7
Most importantly, however, the Bible has influenced millions of people throughout history, giving them faith in God and in his son, the Lord Jesus, resulting in their salvation and in their own lives being changed.
1. Misuse of the Bible has also shaped and changed the world; this answer will deal with the positive ways correct use of the Bible has changed the world.
2. See, e.g., the influence the Ten commandments had on American law (William J. Federer, The Ten Commandments and Their Influence on American Law [Amerisearch, 2003]).
3. See J. Burke, Christians and Slavery. Available online (accessed 28/05/11).
4. See J. Burke, Is Christianity At War With Science? Available online (accessed 28/05/11).
5. The Bible’s influence can be seen in many pieces of literature: e.g., Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, Jane Eyre, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, many works of Shakespeare, Donne, etc.
6. E.g., the following are some of the phrases from the Bible (usually the KJV) that are (or have been) in more general use: Eat, drink, and be merry (Eccl 8:15); Apple of my eye (Deut 32:10); Put your house in order (2 Kgs 20:1); Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37); Red sky at morning (Matt 16:3); Salt of the earth (Matt 5:13); Signs of the times (Matt 16:3); Eye for an eye (Exod 21:24); Drop in the bucket (Isa 40:15); By the skin of our teeth (Job 19:20) Can a leopard change his spots? (Jer 13:23); A house divided (Matt 12:25); Hammer their swords into plowshares (Isa 2:4); He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone (John 8:7); writing on the wall (Dan 5:5); Labor of love (1 Thes 1:3); No peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22); Pride goes before a fall (Prov 16:19); The blind leading the blind (Matt 15:14); The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10); A man after his own heart (1 Sam 13:14); There’s nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9); The strait and narrow (Matt 7:14); At my wit’s end (Ps 107:27) How are the mighty fallen (1 Sam 1:19-27); He gave up the ghost (Luke 23:46); Man shall not live by bread alone (Deut 8:3); Out of the mouths of babes (Ps 8:2); My brother’s keeper (Gen 4:9); More blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35); Letter of the law (2 Cor 3:6); Spare the rod and spoil the child (Prov 13:24); Twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:52); Suffer fools gladly (2 Cor11:19); Weighed in the balances and found wanting (Dan 5:5); A soft answer turns away wrath (Prov 15:1); Thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7).
7. The Bible has influenced many artists. The following is an incomplete list of painters whose art was influenced by the Bible (the list could be expanded further into musicians, directors, choreographers, etc.): Blake, Spencer, Dali, da Vinci, Bosch, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Delacroix, El Greco, Gauguin, Michelangelo, Poussin, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh, Velázquez, etc.