Grow • Devotion 3

Noah Webster
Dr. Randy Johnson

When I think of Noah Webster (1758-1843), I immediately think of the dictionary. Today, it is entitled the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. He also wrote the Blue-backed Speller books that taught five generations of children how to spell and read. Webster has even been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” He did many other things while still being a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives. He had a large influence on the founding and development of our nation.

Webster said, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
The man who was the master of words chose to find his best thoughts from the Bible. He wanted the Bible to be the foundation for the basis for all of life. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

One of the areas that needed to be addressed was what is called “Restitution Laws.” This is when someone has wronged another that also caused financial loss. “In addition to receiving a jail sentence and fines, criminal defendants may be ordered to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes. Restitution is different from fines because fines are punitive, while restitution is compensatory. States believe that restitution offers a way to hold a defendant directly accountable for the consequences of their actions” (

This was not a new concept as Moses wrote about it in Numbers 5:5-7, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.’”

The Bible is full of common sense that helped form the basis for the laws we have today.
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