The Edmond Sun

November 13, 2012

Green family buys space for Bible museum in D.C.

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — Hobby Lobby founder David Green and his family have bought property in Washington D.C. to house their renowned biblical antiquities collection.

Former Olympic gold medal gymnast Bart Conner facilitated a conversation with three generations of the Green family — Hobby Lobby founder David Green, his son Mart Green, founder of Mardel, a chain of Christian and educational supply stores, and grandson Brent Ryan Green, a filmmaker, during the 2012 State of Creativity Forum.

The Green Collection, which consists of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities, is the world’s largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts. It has been featured via the worldwide traveling exhibition Passages in Oklahoma City and Atlanta ( and the Verbum Domini exhibit in Rome (

The capstone of the collection is Codex Climaci Rescriptus, one of the world’s earliest surviving Bibles. It is also the second-largest private collection of Dead Sea Scrolls and the world’s largest private collection of Jewish scrolls.

Plans call for the museum in Washington to be a permanent, national, non-sectarian Bible museum to enable visitors to experience it year-round. The national museum also will house the Green Scholars Initiative, which brings together established and young scholars to pioneer groundbreaking research on items in the collection.

David Green said the family has purchased a building in Washington, D.C., and hopes that in the next couple of years they will be opening a world-class exhibit in the nation’s capital.

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green has said the collection is of great historical and biblical significance and demonstrates the Bible’s impact on every facet of life throughout the ages. That includes science, the arts, government, literature and languages.

Mart Green, who established the retailer Mardel at age 19, said he has been working on a digital Bible library. Currently, if you want to start something new with texts, you have to go to a hundred different places to get a hundred different contracts signed.

In Oklahoma City, the Green family is part of a ministry called YouVersion, which has put the Bible in the form of a downloadable app. Three million people download it each month.

“Creativity is going to be stopped if you can’t get these texts,” he said. “My passion is to get the digital Bible library set up.”

Green said there are 4,000 people groups around the world who don’t have the Bible in their own language. He said he hopes his lasting legacy will be to get the New Testament translated into every language.

In 2009, Brent Ryan Green co-founded Toy Gun Films and produced the award winning short film “En Tus Manos” in Colombia, which premiered at the 2010 Cartagena International Film Festival and was an official selection at 18 international festivals.

Billed as a day of inspiration and collaboration, the Creativity Forum featured innovators and entrepreneurs, policymakers and business leaders, technology experts and trailblazers from around the world. Topics  included leading a culture of innovation, education and commerce. | 341-2121, ext. 108