More than a Symbol

Whether you are person of faith or not, there’s no denying the Bible has been an important part of our American experience, especially in times of crisis. From John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln, to Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King Jr., leaders of all political stripes have solemnly held up the Bible and used it as inspiration in our most difficult moments.

But why? Why do Americans turn to the Bible in times of national trauma? Why are we instinctively drawn to a dusty old volume in our darkest moments? What makes that book so special? Answer? Because the Bible is more than a symbol. It’s a message of unity, justice, hope, love, faith, and liberty. It’s a message of Good News for all people. That’s what gives it power.

In this time of pandemic fear and social isolation, in this time of racial injustice and senseless violence, in this time of economic uncertainty and generational pain, we should be careful not to use the Bible as a political symbol, one more prop in a noisy news cycle. Because, more than ever, we need to hear what’s true. “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24 NIV). “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” Psalm 23:4 KJV).

At American Bible Society we call Americans of all faiths or no faith at all to look beyond the symbol and read the Bible for yourself. If you don’t have a Bible or would like one, go to and request it. No cost. No proselytizing. No strings. It’s your opportunity to experience the Bible’s timeless message of healing and hope for yourself.

Whitney T. Kuniholm

American Bible Society

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Whitney T. Kuniholm
Whitney T. Kuniholm

Whitney T. Kuniholm is on the senior leadership team at American Bible Society. He is also President Emeritus of Scripture Union USA. Prior to this, Mr. Kuniholm was Executive Vice President for Prison Fellowship Ministries, and served as Chairman of the Forum of Bible Agencies. He has written several books including The Essential 100, The Essential Jesus, The Essential Question, John: An Eyewitness Account of the Son of God, many booklets including Confessions of a Guilty Bible Reader. He also speaks at churches and Christian conferences. Whitney and his wife, Carol, have three grown children, three grandchildren, and live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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