What’s It Like Visiting the New Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Museum BibleThe Museum of the Bible opened in Washington, D.C. Nov. 17, 2017, just over five months ago.  Tuesday Mary and I got the opportunity to take it in!

Note that I didn’t say we got to take it all in.  How many hours does it take?  The joke says 40 days and 40 nights!

Somebody determined the average is four hours.  We were there when it opened at 10 a.m. and kept at  it until about 5 p.m., too weary to stay until the 6 p.m. closing.

The museum could hardly be more convenient.  The metro blue line (Federal Center SW) drops off only one block away.  The museum is just two blocks from the National Mall and three blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

Because of initial ridiculous protests about the museum violating church and state and evangelists attempting to take over, perhaps that necessitates the TSA-type security entrance.

The $500 million museum was sponsored and financed by the owners of Hobby Lobby.  A donation of $15 is suggested at entrance, and the only pressure is the person granting a ticket asks boldly and loud enough for everyone around to hear:

“How much would you like to donate?”

We would have liked to!  But we were already passing up some fine extras offered by the museum that have a required fee.

Late in the afternoon, we decided we would spring for the one-hour musical concert by eight talented singers.  Alas, it was too late for the day’s only 2 p.m. show.

Though it sounded enticing, the Washington Revelations flyboard ride called “Hidden in Plain Sight” would surely have made Mary and me too dizzy to enjoy seeing the “breathtaking panoramic flight above and around the nation’s capital while revealing the biblical texts and imagery that embellish some of D.C.’s  most important landmarks.”

A brochure shows on a map the different monuments and buildings with words of the Bible engraved on them.  Mary and I have seen most of them before and spent the next day walking about.  There’s no doubt the Bible was literally

The foundation of our nation 

It reminds me of the book of Joshua which is filled with setting up stones as memorials and witnesses to what God their Rock (1 Cor. 10:4) had done for them.  It’s not surprising that modern Manassah would think the same way.

Again, if you plan on taking in any of the paying exhibits, note the specific times and then build your general viewing around that.

The museum boasts 430,000 sq. feet of high-quality multi-media exhibits and information spread out on seven floors.   About 1,150 items are permanent, with about 2,000 on loan from 41 institutions including the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

One half-hour in, we realized we were still in the initial corner of the first floor!  We needed better time management!

At one point we walked through the parting of the Red Sea which was very artfully represented by blue lighting on both sides.  How interesting to walk through a replica of the village of Nazareth from Jesus’ time!

The museum’s mission is to invite all people to engage with the Bible.  It makes the history of the Bible compelling and demonstrates its profound global impact.

The Bible was written in three languages—Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek—by more than 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years.  Yet it has one consistent message:  God’s love in building His family.  If  that doesn’t ring a bell, scroll back up to the top of this blog!

Greater impact on history than anything in 1,000 years!

That was said of the Gutenberg Printing Press from A.D. 1450.  Gutenberg’s was not the first printing press, and the Chinese actually had moveable metal type long before.   The museum’s demo noted that nobody actually has an exact original of Gutenberg’s press.

A man nobody has heard of named Johann Fust provided the funding for Gutenberg who was an entrepreneur.   Just think what would have not happened if this nobody hadn’t made his contribution.  Gutenberg saw the incredible potential and churned out 180 Bibles in the first two years.

Later with God’s fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—that all nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham—the British Empire planted the Bible all around the earth.

Shakespeare’s contribution to English played a big role in that.  A special exhibit displayed many examples of the Bard’s remez’s to remind people or hint at scriptures in nearly every book of the Bible!  For example, Richard II:  “Would he not stumble?  Would he not fall down, since pride must have a fall” (Prov. 16:18).

The museum notes that there are 682 languages with the full Bible, and 1,543 with the New Testament only.  Making me chuckle, one language called “Colorado” was displayed adjacent to Taroko, Santali, Urhobo  and Ngaju!

The Manna Restaurant

This restaurant on the sixth floor is a must stop.  It  will provide you the energy for your journey through the museum which by the end might feel like 40 years of wandering to your body and feet!

I can highly recommend the Washington Revelations lamb meatballs.  In retrospect, I wish we had resisted the cookies for dessert because one entrée, two drinks and  two desserts dinged us for $42!  So I don’t feel guilty about no donation!

Laughable irony:  the special for the day was pork sandwich!

So that brings us to the important question regarding the museum:

Will it change our lives? 

The Bible is the most read text of all time and the perennial best seller.  It’s not really about sitting on our laps or in a museum.  It’s meant to be a lamp to our feet.  And to be written in our hearts and minds.

Mary and I noted that there was  a wonderful attitude inside the museum displayed by the visitors and staff.  People were excited about the Bible.  Eyes lit up and conversations about the exhibits were animated.  People knew that it was important to them.  Everywhere we experienced good attitudes and courtesy.  There was a special spirit about the museum.

Building the Family of God adSeeing all about the Bible’s miraculous history, development, preservation and global impact was thrilling to a Bible believer.  The museum did not get into doctrines and denominations.  I didn’t see anything that would likely shake anybody to a Road to Damascus encounter.

After exiting the door, flying home to Colorado, glad we went and recommending it to all, will we let the Bible change our lives?  Meditate on it day and night and be careful to obey what it says?  Be transformed by it?

Not the hearers and seers but the doers (James 1:22).


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