When the Modern English Version was published last month, we knew the first copies would be valuable, so we numbered them. We gave a numbered copy to each of the 47 translators and some of my key staff. But who would get number one?
As much as I would have liked to keep the first copy, I knew it needed to be in a museum. So we approached the Green family, who is opening the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., in 2017. They indicated they would like to have the copy and suggested I attend a big event in Oklahoma City announcing publicly the new museum on Oct. 1-2.
Thursday, I had the honor of presenting the first numbered copy of the Modern English Version to Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and founder of the museum, in a small ceremony at Hobby Lobby's headquarters. His parents, David and Barbara Green, and other family members watched.
At the event about the museum, it was mentioned their collection already has 40,000 artifacts. I quipped that it now has 40,001. I also commented about my famous ancestor John Rogers who had been mentioned in a multimedia presentation on the museum and a copy of his Thomas Matthews Bible that had been on display.
As much as I was honored to present the Bible to the Greens and that they would consider placing it in the museum archives, I enjoyed attending the event, which was spectacular in every way.
A few articles have been written about the museum, but this was the first time the vision was presented for a place that is high tech, which tells the story of the Bible in a way that lets the power of the gospel message speak for itself rather than trying to proselytize or push a certain agenda.
For a networker like me, I enjoyed seeing long-time friends such as Dr. Don Argue and Rob Hoskins. I also enjoy making new friends. It was impressive to hear from Dr. David Jeremiah, Franklin Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who came in for the event.
I told museum Chief Operating Officer Cary Summers that we want to do a major magazine article sometime in the future about the artifacts they've collected. We also want to partner in the vision for this museum, which will rival the great museums in Washington in size and quality.
A small traveling show called Passages has been touring in places like Jerusalem, the Vatican and Havana, Cuba. I had the privilege of seeing it in Jerusalem last fall. Now it's in Springfield, Missouri, to coincide with the centennial of the Assemblies of God. Soon it will be in Los Angeles. If you get the opportunity to see it, do so.
The exciting thing to me is not only to see ancient artifacts because they are old. It's also to understand the miracle of how the Scriptures have come to us and to begin to understand the impact of the power of this book—the best seller of all time—has had on millions of lives and on our culture.
It's humbling for me to think about the impact this new version of the Bible will have on the lives of a new generation and to take part in producing a word-for-word translation of the Scriptures in language they understand.
For the record, the second numbered copy went to Dr. James Linzey, who was the visionary behind the translation and who pulled together the 47 translators. I received copy No. 3.
I've also taken a challenge on Facebook by Shawn Maynard of Gainesville, Florida, to read through the MEV in 90 days. (That's 12 pages a day). You can take the challenge here and have a chance to win a free MEV Bible.
Steve Strang is the founding editor and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).
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