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 joined the Senior Leadership Team as senior vice president of Mission Advancement at American Bible Society in July 2018, after 16 months of establishing a strong foundation for the $150 million Bicentennial Campaign as director of campaign partnerships.

Kuniholm is also president emeritus of Scripture Union USA, where he provided over a decade of leadership. Before joining Scripture Union, he served as executive vice president of Prison Fellowship. He also held the position of chairman of the Forum of Bible Agencies – North America.

In 2004, Kuniholm created the E100 Challenge, a church-wide Bible reading program that has been translated into 25 languages and has reached 15 million people around the world. American Bible Society has used the E100 Challenge in its Armed Services Ministry, as well as Bible distribution work in China. Other resources authored by Kuniholm include four books—The Essential 100, The Essential Jesus, The Essential Question, and John: An Eyewitness Account of the Son of God—and many booklets, including Confessions of a Guilty Bible Reader. He also speaks at churches and Christian conferences.

Kuniholm is a graduate of Houghton College. He and his wife, Carol, have three children and three grandchildren.

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