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influencers from the bible

The magazine rack at Sprouts Grocery store displayed National Geographic’s “50 Most Influential Figures of the Bible.” As Hope Community’s summer’s focus is Influencers from the Bible, I bought a copy—fantasizing National Geographic might be listening to my podcasts.

No, probably not. That issue, authored by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, was originally published 2020.

An influencer is someone whose advocacy for a lifestyle attracts followers. An influencer is a type of Guru—a term from Sanskrit; Gu references darkness or ignorance, Ru means to push away. So, a Guru is someone who pushes away ignorance or darkness. Another key aspect of an influencer is their involvement with a sponsor.

My focus is on seven key influencers from the Bible: Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, Paul the apostle, the Gospel authors, and John the beloved apostle.

Moses was the author/editor of the first five books of the Bible. His message: choose life. God revealed to Moses that humans were not designed for death. People can access the source of life if they humbly live by God’s laws.

David composed/compiled much of the poetry in the Bible. His message: God is present. The God of the Bible operates within our reality; He desires to relate with us. He wants the best for every person. Trouble is, God’s best often conflicts with our wandering desires.

Solomon composed/compiled much of the Bible’s wisdom literature. His message: seek wisdom but stay humble. He composed the Song of Solomon, collected the Proverbs, likely identified deep wisdom in the ancient book of Job. But, Solomon was wrong to believe he was intellectually capable of simultaneously worshiping Yahweh and honoring cultural deities.

Unfairly I lump all Old Testament Prophets together, because they share one message: listen for God. The God of the Bible speaks, but usually in a gentle whisper. To hear Him you need to mute the cultural noise, humble yourself, then patiently wait and listen. Doing these things help you hear the divine whispering.

The apostle Paul composed the earliest book in the New Testament, written about twenty years after Jesus’ resurrection. Paul’s message: humans were created to rule and reign with Christ. God’s design has been subverted—a subversion the Bible terms sin. But through Christ Jesus, the God of the Bible wants to lift us up where we belong.

The Gospel authors Matthew, Mark and Luke share similar material and similar quotations. All three follow a similar sequence of events, record similar comments and asides, even share identical alterations from Old Testament scripture. Most importantly they share one message: the kingdom of heaven is near.

The final Gospel writer was the apostle, John. He presents the same Jesus differently. John’s message: Jesus is God. John records Jesus saying, “I and the Father are one.” In The Revelation from Jesus Christ, John hears Jesus say, “I am the first and the last.” Then in his vision of heaven John sees on the throne of God, “A Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne.”

The influencers from the Bible are the most influential in history. Their writings have been translated into every language, adherents can be found in every nation. Tyrants suppress them, to no avail. Censors cancel them, but their influence spreads. Cynics who belittle them shrink into insignificance. Heroes and celebrities seem to displace them, but fade into oblivion.

The question that remains. To what degree do the influencers from the Bible influence you? ~

Dan Nygaard