A yet-to-be-opened Bible museum that has already acquired rare artifacts is considering making Dallas its home.
Johnny Shipman, the National Bible Museum's chief executive officer, said the group is currently negotiating to buy a site in Dallas but is still open to other locations. Shipman told The Dallas Morning News that his group is looking for a location near downtown that is at least 300,000 square feet with a large parking space.
The group did not divulge details on what other cities it was considering for the museum.
Wherever its location, the museum will be home to rare Bibles and manuscripts obtained by the Oklahoma-based national arts and crafts chain, Hobby Lobby.
Christian businessman Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, said his family agreed about four years ago to help with the Bible Museum and started acquiring artifacts about a year ago.
"We have had passed down to us, from my parents and my grandparents, a love for God's word and have been passionate about that," he said, according to Oklahoma-based NewsOk.com. "We believe in the Bible and believe it's the most incredible book that's ever been written."
So far, the Green family has acquired hundreds of Bible artifacts that include medieval manuscripts, Hebrew scrolls, and various types of Bibles. On Monday, Hobby Lobby announced that it had bought a Codex Climaci Rescriptus, an ultra rare, sixth-century Bible that includes a New Testament handwritten in Jesus' native language, Aramaic.
The Codex Climaci Rescriptus is one of the oldest, near-complete Bibles in the world.
Scott Carroll, a professor at Cornerstone University in Michigan who co-founded the museum and serves as its executive director, told the Dallas Morning News that the Bible failed to sell at a Sotheby's auction last year and was purchased by Hobby Lobby from Westminster College at Cambridge University in January with the help of Sotheby's.
Those involved in setting up the Bible Museum hope that the museum will be an educational site that draws scholars and curious people alike.
"The Bible itself, whether someone believes it or doesn't believe it, is the most influential book in history," Carroll told NewsOk.com.
The historian said that to understand how the Bible came to be – from the artwork and translation to the printing press – is to understand human history.
Furthermore, for people of faith the Bible is "a platform for understanding the soul and God," he added.
Presently, the museum's website address is nbmdallas.com