NASHVILLE, TN — Hobby Lobby President Steve Green believes everyone should have an opportunity to learn the same biblical principles that have guided his life and helped his family stand strong. This was never more evident than when the Obama administration tried to force their multi-billion dollar arts and crafts retail business into providing abortion-causing drugs to employees.
That’s why Green is deeply committed to an important project that was featured at Proclaim 16: Museum of the Bible.
A nonsectarian museum recounting the narrative, history, and influence of Scripture, the Museum of the Bible is slated to open in November 2017 in Washington, DC. Green explained the project’s four-pronged emphasis of travelling exhibits, research, education, and the Washington facility during a February 24 dinner at Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention.
“The principles that God has given us in His Word are principles for us to live by,” Green said. “… If we want to live a successful life, no matter whether it involves suffering or not, those are the principles we can follow in our commitment to Him. Those are the principles we built a company on, we built a family on. And we want to share with the world these principles and suggest that they then want to consider them as well. And that’s where the museum idea came from.”
Museum of the Bible was established five years ago as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, Green said. Not knowing initially when their collection of Bible artifacts — which began in 2009 — would grow large enough to anchor a free-standing museum, the Greens pursued multiple avenues of advancing biblical literacy.
One such avenue was travelling exhibits, Green said, noting Museum of the Bible artifacts have been displayed in Oklahoma, Colorado, California, Cuba, and the Vatican, among other locations.
“We weren’t collecting [Bible artifacts] because we were interested in collecting,” Green said. “We were collecting because we wanted to tell this book’s story. It is a story like none other.”
Yet the artifacts were “sitting in our closet” with the Washington museum’s opening “years down the road,” Green said. So the family decided collectively, “Let’s have a travelling exhibit so we can start telling this book’s story.”
Research is another facet of the Museum of the Bible’s mission, according to Green. He said more than 100 scholars from some 15 universities across the world have engaged in research connected with the project. Among their endeavors is the use of a technology known as “multispectral imaging” to read underlying biblical texts that were scraped off ancient parchments when scribes wanted to recycle them for copying other documents.
A third facet of the Museum of the Bible’s work is producing educational curricula. Green said 5,000 students in Israeli public schools are using a Bible survey curriculum produced by Museum of the Bible scholars, and the organization is “working toward” use of its curriculum by American public schools.
The “nonsectarian” aspect of the education initiative makes possible broad use of its curricula, Green said.
“I don’t want my child who went to a public school being proselytized by another faith,” he said. “So I can’t do that either. I don’t want to do that. What I want to do and what I should be able to do is just present the facts of this book,” including its history, narrative, and impact.
The most widely publicized aspect of the Museum of the Bible’s work is its Washington, DC, facility, where three primary floors, Green said, will be dedicated to the three main themes. The museum, located two blocks south of the National Air and Space Museum, will house not only the Museum of the Bible Collection, but also artifacts from visiting collections of organizations like the Vatican and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Other museum features mentioned by Green include a restaurant with food from Bible times, banquet facilities, a 500-seat performing arts theater, and a digital screen showing Bible-themed material to visitors exiting a nearby Washington Metro subway station.
Proclaim 16 attendees previewed approximately 50 Museum of the Bible artifacts in an extensive Convention exhibit with sections corresponding to each of the Washington facility’s three primary floors. Museum of the Bible’s Platinum Level sponsorship of NRB’s International Christian Media Convention is scheduled to continue for two additional years.
“If you go by DC, we invite you to drive by and call our offices,” Green said. “If we can, we’ll give you a hardhat tour” of the facility, which is under construction.
Following Green’s presentation, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson urged Christian media professionals to support the Museum of the Bible, including donations to the One Million Names fundraising campaign. In the museum, a wall will permanently display the names of campaign contributors. More details about this initiative are available at www.museumoftheBible.org/onemillion.
“We want to see more faith,” Dr. Johnson said. “We want more people to encounter the Word of God.”
By David Roach
Published: March 2, 2016