Summary: No people can be great who neglect the best that God has given to man, and no year is going to be great in which the Bible does not play a major role in our lives.

Abraham Lincoln did not like a lot of things about Christians and

the church, but there are few great men in history who loved the

Bible more than this great leader of our land. In Fisk University

Library in Nashville, Tenn. is a copy of a Bible presented to Lincoln

with this inscription: "To Abraham Lincoln, president of the United

States, the Friend of Universal Freedom, from the Loyal Colored

People of Baltimore, 4th of July, 1864."

When this Bible was presented to Lincoln he responded, "In

regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has

given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was

communicated through this book..... All things most desirable for

man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.

To you I return my most sincere thanks for the elegant copy of the

great Book of God which you present." Lincoln was so immersed in

the Bible that his speeches were illustration of biblical language. He

was 10 years old when the first family Bible was purchased, but

before that he read the Bible in school where that was the only book

they had to read. As president he used biblical language and ideas

constantly, and once he gave a lecture on the Bible sponsored by the

Bible Society of Springfield.

Lincoln was greatly disturbed by preachers who used the Bible

to support their own political agenda, such as justifying slavery. He

had to be a student of the Word of God to fight against the abuse of

it. The Bible became the key source of power that first founded our

nation of freedom, and then restored it to freedom again. If you

take the Bible out of the history of our nation, you will have no

heritage to be proud of, for we would be a nation of tyranny and

bondage like so many nations of the world. All that we treasure as

Americans is due to the impact of the Bible on our leaders of the


Theodore Roosevelt was one of our most brilliant and dynamic

presidents, and he said, "Almost every man who has by his life's

work added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is

proud, of which our people are proud; almost every such man has

based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible."

Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II said, "Nearly all of the

great men of our country have been well versed in the teachings of

the Bible." All of the presidents of our nation were students of the

Bible, for one was not considered educated who did not know the


William E. Gladstone, the great statesman and intellectual giant

of England said, "I have known 95 great men of the world in my

time, and of these 87 were followers of the Bible." We could go on to

quote many of those great men about their love for the Bible, but

these are sufficient to establish the fact that the Bible was a powerful

influence in the history of the Western world and of our nation. No

one can question our biblical heritage, but now we must face the

facts that the Bible is no longer the highest authority in our land. It

still sells like hot cakes, but apparently it is read as infrequently as

hot cakes as well, which is not at all. Studies of Christian youth

entering college reveal that they know little about the Bible. They

know more about movie stars and cartoon characters than they do

about Bible characters.

In many Christian homes the best place to hide money is in the

family Bible, for nobody is ever going to look there. A Catholic

author I read complained that only one priest in a hundred has ever

read the Bible from cover to cover, and the result is that most Catholics

do not take Bible reading seriously. Protestants and

Catholics alike have taken for granted that we are a Christian

nation, and they have assumed it would stay that way regardless the

place we give the Bible in our education. Now we are reaping what

we have sown, and that is a post-Christian era where leaders and

people alike are ignorant of the Bible.

No people can be great who neglect the best that God has given

to man, and no year is going to be great in which the Bible does not

play a major role in our lives. To encourage you to make Bible

reading apart of your life we want to look at the two characteristics

of the Word of God that Peter stressed in verse 23, where he writes

of the living and enduring Word of God.

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