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The Bounty's Bible

On 28 April 1789, Fletcher Christian staged the most famous mutiny in history, on the English ship "HMS Bounty", in the South Pacific. The captain, William Bligh, and those loyal to him, were set adrift in an overloaded lifeboat, which they miraculously navigated 3700 miles to Timor.

The mutineers on the Bounty immediately began quarrelling about what to do next. Fletcher returned to Tahiti, where he left some of the mutineers, kidnapped some women, took some slaves, and travelled with the remaining mutineers 1000 miles to the uninhabited Pitcairn Island. There their group quickly unravelled. They distilled whisky from a native plant. Drunkenness and fighting characterised their colony. Disease and murder eventually took the lives of all the men, except one - Alexander Smith. Smith found himself the only man on the island surrounded by an assortment of women and children.

Then Smith found the Bounty's neglected Bible. As he read it, his heart was transformed and he began to instruct the survivors of their community. He taught the Scriptures and helped to implement its instructions. The message of Christ so transformed their lives that, 20 years later, in 1808, when the crew of the Topaz landed on the island, they found a joyful society of Christians living in prosperity and peace, free from crime, disease, murder and mutiny.

That Bible resides on display in the Church in Pitcairn as a monument to its transforming message.

World's All Time Best Seller

The Bible is the number one best selling book in all of history. The Bible Society alone has a world wide distribution of 24 million Bibles, 26 million New Testaments and 577 million portions of Scripture each year. This does not include the over 1 million New Testaments distributed each week by The Gideons. Or the New Testaments distributed by the Pocket Testament League. The over 18 million Scriptures provided each year by the Bible League, the over 22 million Scripture tracts and booklets given away so far by Scripture Gift Mission. And there are even more Bibles sold by Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, and others. It is estimated that well over 30 million Bibles are sold each year, and possibly over 100 million New Testaments are sold each year!

Most Influential Book in History

It is to the Bible that we owe our legacy of the law. It is the Bible that ushered in an era of compassion, liberty and justice. The Ten Commandments are the moral and legal foundation of Western civilisation.

The foundations of the Common Law were made by King Alfred the Great of England who introduced his Code with the Ten Commandments, the Case Laws of Exodus, the Golden Rule of Christ, and other Biblical principles.

The Magna Carta of 1215 was the first statute, the first written restriction on the powers of government. It was written by a pastor and thoroughly saturated with Scriptural principles.

The Bible has inspired the greatest literature, the greatest art, the greatest examples of architecture (the cathedrals), the age of exploration, world missions, the rule of law, the separation of powers, checks and balances, representative government, the sanctity of life, and so much more that we take for granted.

Just consider some of the everyday things which have been inspired by the Bible. The word "breakfast" comes from the concept of breaking the fast. The word "restaurant" comes from Jesus' promise in Matthew 11:28 "come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." The first restaurant, founded in Paris in 1766, placed that verse from Matthew 11:28 in bold letters outside this first public establishment dedicated to providing meals in a pleasant atmosphere.

The fact that our week consists of seven days is a testimony to the fact of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh. The practice of Sunday being a Day of rest dates back to the Christian tradition of honouring the first day of the week as the Lord's Day, remembering that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

The very way we date our years is a testimony to the centrality of Christ. All of history is divided into BC - Before Christ; or AD - Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. Jesus Christ is the central focus of history.

Most of the world's languages were written down for the first time by Christian missionaries. The first book in most languages in the world was the Bible. Martin Luther's translation of the Bible had a tremendous impact upon the formation of the German language, as did William Tyndale's translation on the English language. Many common phrases, expressions and words come right out of the pages of the Bible. ("My brother’s keeper" Gen. 4:9; "The mark of Cain" Gen. 4:15; "An eye for an eye" Ex. 21:24; "Scapegoat" Lev. 16:26; "The valley of the shadow of death" Ps 23:4; "Feet of clay" Dan 2:33; "The Fiery Furnace" Dan 3; "The handwriting on the wall" Dan 5; "In the lions’ den" Dan 6; "Baptism of fire" Matt 3:16; "Go the second mile" Matt 5:41; "Our daily bread" Matt 6:11; "Pearls before swine" Matt 7:6; "The straight and narrow" Matt 7:14; "Wolves in sheeps' clothing" Matt 7:15; "A den of thieves" Matt 21:13; "Blind guides" Matt 23:16; "White-washed tombs" Matt 23:27; "Good Samaritan" Luke 10; "Prodigal son" Luke 15; and literally hundreds of other expressions could be added.)

The very word "good-bye" comes from: God be with ye.

The word "holiday" means holy day.

Napoleon Bonaparte asserted "The Bible is no mere book, but a living power that conquers all that opposes it.”

The Foundation of Science

Sir Michael Faraday, one of the greatest scientists of all times, who discovered electromagnetic induction and invented the generator, observed: “The Bible, and it alone, with nothing added to it nor taken away from it by man, is the sole and sufficient guide for each individual, at all times and in all circumstances. ...faith in the Divinity and work of Christ is the gift of God, and the evidence of this faith is obedience to the commandments of Christ.”

All the great pioneer scientists who laid the foundations of modern physics, astronomy, calculus, dynamics, oceanography, anaesthesiology, and every other branch of science, confirmed the Bible as the foundation and inspiration for their work. This included Johannes Kepler, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Carl van Linnaeus, Charles Babbage, Blaise Pascal, Samuel Morse, Matthew Fontaine Maury, James Simpson, George Washington Carver, and many, many more.

As Dr. Howard Kelly asserted: “Whatever there is in civilisation that is worthwhile rests on the Bible's precepts.”

The Bible is the Word of God

“...The Word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8

“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

“Fix these Words of Mine in your hearts and minds...” Deuteronomy 11:18

“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 119:18

“The entrance of Your Word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130

“For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

"Is not My Word like fire? declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" Jeremiah 23:29

"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colosians 3:16

"Oh, how I love Your Law! I meditate on it all day long." Psalm 119:97

Dr. Peter Hammond

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa info@christianaction.org.za - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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