Open a Bible, Learn Stuff

by Michael Potemra

Last week, I poked some innocent fun at the idea of The American Patriot’s Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America. I have been looking at a copy of it, and am pleased to discover it’s not as bad as I had feared. I did, however, catch a typo in the actual Bible text (Daniel 5:27); I’ve had my hands on countless Bibles over the years, and you’d be surprised how rare typos in the Biblical text have become. (Gone for good are the days of the “Wicked Bible” of 1631, which inadvertently left out the word “not” in “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”)

And I learned something from this Patriot’s Bible that I was amazed that I had never heard before. A note in the text of Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians reads: “Bill Clinton placed his hand on Galatians 6:8 as he took the presidential oath of office in 1993.” Galatians 6:8 reads: “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Now, I’m no Clinton hater, and I’m not going for a cheap putdown of the 42nd president here, but come on: a warning about “flesh” and “corruption” in Minute One of his presidency? A comic novelist would be faulted for making that up. (Was it perhaps intentional — i.e., that Clinton recognized the specific weaknesses to which he was prone and that could get his presidency in serious trouble, and was therefore wise enough to ask God’s help against them?)

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