The Influence Of 
The Holy Bible On Civilization

      The Holy Bible is the world’s foremost masterpiece in literature. Most all great writers of the Christian era have had their works shaped, colored and enriched by the Bible. Robert Burns said, “Without the Bible my poetry would be woefully lacking. William Lyon Phelps wrote: “The Bible has been a greater influence on the course of English literature than all other forces put together.” Shakespeare’s creations are saturated with Biblical facts, allusions, quotations, words and phrases.

     The English language has been created mostly by the Bible. When John Wycliffe made the first English translation in the fourteenth century, there was no English tongue. Almost two hundred dialects were spoken by the people of Britain and often those of one village could not understand the speech of a neighboring village. Wycliffe culled the key words from the many dialects and brought them together in his translation. The Bible became the standard for the language of the nation. We owe to Wycliffe much of the force and beauty of later English versions.

     John Wycliffe, and his followers called "Lollards," plus faithful scribes produced hundreds of handwritten Bibles in the early 1300's. He died in 1384. Wycliffe's Bible was popular and in demand. In fact it was so popular, that 44 years after Wycliffe's death, the British kind ordered his bones dug up, ground and tossed into a river. Today there are 250 existing copy's of this first English translation of the Holy Bible.

     Many English words have their origin in the scriptures. Latin words such as altar, bishop, church, priest, psalm, and a great many others were brought to Britain by missionaries from Rome and were later used in Wycliffe’s translation of the Holy Bible. French ecclesiastical terms such as saint, save, rule, tempt, lesson, blame, were added in the same way. The word “beautiful” was not known until Tyndale created it for his translation of the sixteenth century. The word “talented” was invented from the parable of the talents.

     Hundreds of expressions that add color and expressiveness to our everyday speech come from early translations of the Holy Scriptures. A near to the same versions are found in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. I will not attempt to list all of them, but a few are such as these:

     Bite the dust – from Psalms 72:9.

     The Blind Leading the Blind – Matthew 15:13-14.

     By the Skin of my Teeth – Job 19:20.

     A Broken Heart – Psalms 34:18.

     Can a Leopard Change His Spots? – Jeremiah 13:23.

     Hand Writing on the Wall – based on Daniel 5.

     Drop in a Bucket – Isaiah 40:15.

     Fly in the Ointment – Ecclesiastes 10:1.

     Forbidden Fruit – based on Genesis 3:3.

     Emerson said, “The Bible is the alphabet of the nations”. It has been responsible for the development of many languages. Luther’s German Bible, translated from the Hebrew and Greek into the words of the common people, was the first book of any importance to appear in the modern German language. It became the text book and the standard of their language.

     The written language of many parts of the world came into existence for the soul purpose of giving the Bible to the people. John Eliot, a missionary to the Massachusetts Indians in the seventh century, was the first to translate and print the Bible into a Native American language in the new world. He laboriously worked with an Indian who spoke English to painstakingly produce the entire Bible in the language of the Massachusetts Indians. The Bible holds a central position in this great program of mass emancipation.

     The Holy Bible is still being translated into other languages. In the 19th century, the Bible, in whole or in part, had been translated and printed into about 400 new languages. Today, in Papua New Guinea there are more than 800 languages spoken. The first translation of the New Testament into one of these languages was published in 1956. By 1990 the New Testament was available in more than 100 languages. Two hundred other translations were in preparation.

     Getting the Holy Bible to every language and dialect is a daunting task. However, God, who is faithful promised, "SO SHALL MY WORD BE THAT GOES FORTH FROM MY MOUTH; IT SHALL NOT RETURN TO ME VOID, BUT IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH WHAT I PLEASE, AND IT SHALL PROSPER IN THE THING FOR WHICH I SENT IT." Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV).

     Today, in spite of all the negative comment and attitudes in government and nations concerning the Holy Bible it is still the number one best seller year after year, decade after decade. It is like the anvil that is forever under constant attack, there lies on the floor below it a pile of broken and useless hammers.  


     Just A Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.  



Updated October 13, 2015

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