For Steve Green, the Bible is more than a religious book or a way of life for business and family — it’s a text that changed mankind and should be celebrated as such.
Green — whose father, David, launched Hobby Lobby in 1972 — traveled to Israel last week with his wife Jackie for the opening of a temporary Bible exhibit in Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum called “The Book of Books,” which features portions of the Dead Sea scrolls, the Codex Climaci Rescriptus (one of the oldest copies of the Bible written in Palestinian Aramaic, the language used in Jesus’ household) and original pages from the Gutenberg Bible.
“It’s a bit of a history of the Bible, starting from the Dead Sea scrolls going through the King James version and many of the artifacts show that timeline,” Hobby Lobby President Steve Green told FoxNews.com on Monday by phone. “With our collection as a whole, we wanted to encourage people to know their Bible better, whether it be here in America or anywhere around the world.”
The exhibit, which will run through late May, will ultimately be part of a permanent, as-yet-unnamed museum in Washington, D.C., which will feature artifacts from The Green Collection, which includes more than 40,000 antiquities and is billed as one the world’s largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts. That museum is expected to open sometime in early 2017, Green said.
"With our collection as a whole, we wanted to encourage people to know their Bible better, whether it be here in America or anywhere around the world."
- Steve Green, Hobby Lobby president
Other notable pieces of the exhibit include a rare 14th century illuminated chronicle detailing Christ’s lineage from the prophets to Adam and rare letters and Bibles from John Wycliffe, a vocal critic of the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century.
The Greens began collecting religious artifacts in 2009 and it’s grown into a “personal love” that seeps into every aspect of their life, Steve Green said.
“It’s a personal love that our family has had,” he continued. “We would hope that others would consider the principles that it teaches for their own personal lives as well.”
The exhibit will also showcase the connection between Christianity and Judiasm, according to curator Heather Reichstadt.
“The Book of Books exhibit will serve to delineate the relationship between the Jewish and Christian faiths by tracing the transmission of the biblical text over the last two millennia, spanning from the Judean wilderness to the nations of the world,” Reichstadt said in a statement. “Visitors will enjoy some 150 artifacts displayed in immersive contextual settings that bring history to life.”
The exhibit has thus far been well-received, Green said, but he’s aware the potential for “controversy” is there any time religion takes center stage.
“So far, it’s been well received everywhere we’ve been,” he said. “But there will be controversy; there will be people who don’t like the Bible for whatever reason. But we just want to educate people on a book that’s impacted our world and let them make their own choice.”