It is often said that the Bible is not a handbook to, well, anything. Those who make this assertion are typically opposed to Christian involvement in activities outside Sunday morning worship. They want to see Christianity remain safely within the four walls of the church building. It may be all right for Christians to become involved in warm and fuzzy local charity but anyone who would suggest that Biblical principles should be applied to "real-life" is labeled a fundamentalist wacko intent on creating a theocracy.
The truth is much different. The Bible is in fact a handbook. You see, according to Webster, a handbook is simply a book that is capable of being conveniently carried as a ready reference manual. It is a concise reference book covering a particular subject. In the case of the Bible, it is a reference book covering all areas of life. It is not limited to a single subject like politics or education; instead, the Bible proclaims the truth necessary for the redemption of every individual and his arena of activity. In this way, all things are reconciled to the Father (Colossians 1:19-20).
This means that there is no part of life that is not subject to biblical oversight. True, the Bible does not provide a periodic table of elements but it does provide the worldview necessary to do science properly. Again, the Bible does not mandate a particular form of government but it does present a distinct political philosophy. For instance the Bible says, "when a land transgresses, it has many rulers" (Proverbs 28:2a). In other words, God multiplies rulers over a wicked people and this vast bureaucracy exacting its pound of flesh from the hapless citizens under its care is a sign of God's displeasure. Thus, "Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress" (Nehemiah 9:36-37).
Furthermore, "by justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down" (Proverbs 29:4). Hence, virtue strengthens a nation whereas Cornhusker kickbacks and a Second Louisiana purchase will tear it down. In other words, to ignore biblically defined justice means that the nation will begin to fall apart and move steadily toward anarchy and then tyranny. This does not mean blood will run in the streets as order breaks down. Instead, the strong central power will increase its hold on the populace as the general unrest becomes more apparent. As a result, the central power will increasingly force its will on the nation in the name of the people. After all, the totalitarian regime never likes to let a good crisis go to waste - especially when it is a crisis of its own making.
If we want good government we must be willing to look to the Bible for answers. The Bible is a handbook on political science (and on economics, natural science, education, marriage, business and so on). In this brief article it is impossible to do more than touch on a couple verses that pertain to the subject. As I have previously written in this column, we need to engage in a thorough study of the Bible and understand how to apply the principles therein to our current circumstance. Until we do, we will continue to get what we deserve.