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ss triple helix - Christmas 2011,  The book of books

The book of books

Jason Roach on doctors whose lives have been profoundly shaped by the truths of the Bible.

It has been called the most influential translation of the most influential book in the world. Over the last 400 years the King James Version of the Bible has stirred social movements such as the abolition of slavery, the suffragettes, the building of hospitals and the end of child labour so it's no surprise to find that this incredible book continues to inspire many doctors today.

The King James Bible provided the foundation of our nation's legislation.

John Wyatt, Professor of Ethics and Perinatology at University College London articulated this wonderfully in a speech to the House of Lords saying: 'If I was to intentionally kill one of these babies struggling for life, in English law I would be guilty of the same crime as though I had marched down here to try to kill one of the peers who rule the land.'

The Bible inspires us to lead an integrated life

Some find it easy to separate life in the clinic or at a desk from life in a church building or home group. But the puritans, perhaps some of the first to comb the King James Version afresh rejected such distinctions. Tracey Foy, a GP in North London, has found great solace in God's interest in every area of life: 'I find being a GP quite draining at times and it can be difficult to motivate myself especially when faced with a long list of patients with varying problems. The verse that always spring to mind for me in these times is Colossians 3:23 as it reminds me that when we do things for other people we are doing them for Christ, which I think helps me have a better mind-set when faced with patients whom I may see as difficult.'

The Bible encourages us to see with the right perspective

Hebrews 3:13 urges us to 'encourage one another daily'. For Catherine Brown, a medical registrar in London, this is often how God's word has come to her most powerfully. Speaking of her long struggle with depression she said: 'I remember some really low days, days when I would just burst into tears with a friend. Sometimes I wondered how I would make it through the day. But time and again, those who cared for me were able to lovingly and gently put an arm around me, let me know they were there, and share something of the comfort Christ promises us. To know that there is a day when Jesus himself will wipe away my tears, and remake my body without the burdens of illness is a day I cling onto tightly.'

I have spoken to only a handful of doctors, and yet even this brief sample gives a glimpse of the breadth and depth of the Bible's impact on our lives. By God's grace, may it continue.

Rev Dr Jason Roach former Editor of BMJ Clinical Evidence and Minister, Westminster at One

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