By Randy Reynolds
The most recent part of the Bible was written almost 1900 years ago. Of course I am talking about the New Testament. In the almost 2000 years since the time of Jesus Christ, the Bible has been preserved, copied, and translated into many languages and distributed in every part of the world
One Book Containing
The Bible is not just one book, it is a collection of 66 books, written by about 40 men. Its authors included kings, statesmen, fishermen, seers, a physician, a tax collector, a farmer, a general, and a tent-maker to name a few. Some of the writers were educated men while others were not. The Bible was written over a span of time that covered about 1600 years, with a cast of 2,930 characters in 1,551 places. The Bible was written and composed by men from totally different back-grounds, cultures, and time periods. One writer called it “the strangest publishing project of all time” (Terry Hall, “How We Got Our Old Testament,” Moody Monthly Journal 1987, 32).
The Bible is a book that consists of history, drama, narratives (stories), sermons, orations (speeches), memoirs (personal history), prayers and letters. It claims to foretell the future while promising eternal life those who follow and obey it. The Bible claims to provide the only way to true happiness, explains the why of human suffering, and teaches its readers the only true purpose of life here on earth. The Bible shows men and weaknesses, problems, and fears, while at the same time making dramatic changes in their life, including habits, morals, and desires. Most certainly the Bible is one very unique book.
The Book of Influence
I am not aware of any book in the history of man that has ever influenced so many people from all over the world so profoundly. Few books have been as popular or as important to so many people from so many different walks of life. For literally hundreds of years the Bible has spoken to the hearts of all people from every culture. People have in the past and continue today to use the great teachings of the Bible to enhance their social development. The Bible’s di-vine instruction on such things as psychology, mercy, love, kindness, justice, and ethics continue to be the standard for just about every culture, even if they don’t believe it came about through inspiration. Even some of the greatest motivational courses in well known universities throughout the world have based their teachings on this great book called the Bible.
The Bible is a Book about Real People
The Bible is a record of God’s message to men, women and children. The Bible is God speaking to mankind in every generation that man has ever existed. Whatever our situation or problem, we find the principles to guide our lives in the pages of the Bible. It is important to remember that the people that we read of and about in the Bible were real people, just like us. Even though they may have worn sandals and robes instead of jeans and gym shoes, they were not make-believe characters in a story book. Because they were real people, just like us, we can find help for our lives as we see what God said to them in their day. If you would read the Bible, then you would know that God can be trusted and that he will keep his word. Thus, one can live with the hope of God’s promises which he reads of in the Bible as being promises that will be kept.
The Bible is an Inspired Book
Before we begin to think of the Bible as just another book written by man, we need to look further. Even though the Bible was written by man in that man moved the pen to write, we must understand that the words that they wrote were not their own. The Bible claims to be stamped with the impress of God’s inspiration. In other words, the men who wrote the Bible were guided by God. Consider the claim, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12). “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 4:27). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (1 Pet. 1:20-21).
One Bible researcher counted more than 3,800 times when the writers of the Bible used some variant of the formula, “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying. . .” Some examples of this are found in Ezekiel 6:1, “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying. . .” The prophet Amos often times repeats, “Thus says the Lord. . .” (Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6, 11; 3:1, 8, 11, etc.). The prophet Zechariah can also be found repeating many times over, “Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying. . .” (Zech. 7:8). Several books begin with the introductory statement: “The word of the Lord that came to…”
Not only is this the way of those known as the prophets of God, much of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament, written by the prophet and law giver Moses) is actually presented as the actual, spoken word of God. Time and time again this phrase is used, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying. . .” In Exodus 33:11 we read, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” John in the Revelation letter said that the visions and words he recorded in the book of Revelation came from God, not himself (cf. Rev. 1:1).
These few Bible passages should be enough to convince us that the Bible is the only book of its kind. The Bible is God’s book! It is God’s revelation to man! Not only did God’s Spirit inspire the writers of the sixty-six books that comprise the Bible, but God also superintended the trans-mission of these writings and their collection. It is a book that reveals who God is and how man can know him. The Bible reveals how God demands to be worshiped and what man must do in order to be pleasing in his sight. When people reject the Bible and its inspired teachings they have in essence rejected God! May I humbly suggest to you, my dear friends, that rejecting God is the most serious mistake, even the very worst mistake that one could ever possibly make!
Some of the more recent Gallup polls that have been taken suggest that belief in the Bible as the inerrant, infallible, God-breathed word is on the decline. A more recent survey suggests that only about one-third hold to such a belief whereas in 1963 about two-thirds held to this belief. But, regardless of what belief others may hold to, you and I are faced with the most awesome book that has ever influenced human society: a book that has now been preserved for literally thousands of years. A book that has and continues to straddle incredibly diverse cultures, beliefs, and teachings; a book that has caused notable men throughout the centuries to exclaim, “When you have read the Bible, you will know it is the word of God” (Woodrow Wilson [1856-1924], 28th President of the United States).
Bible Study Is Important!
The only question that remains is, what will I do with the Bible? Will I read and study it carefully making it a part of my life every day? Will I, as the inspired writer Jude pro-claimed, have the dedication and willingness to contend earnestly for its truths (cf. Jude 3)? Or will my Bible reading and Bible study succumb to the daily pressures that beg for more and more of my time? Or will I take the easier road of compromise, allowing those precious truths to be pressed into the background for a more positive, socially acceptable teaching and doctrine?
May our God help each one of us to be like David and make God’s inspired word the meditation of our hearts and the light for our paths so that we may walk in the way of the Lord, according to his inspired word. May we have the strength and the courage to stand firmly for the truth, even if we must stand alone.
The Old Testament books, 39 of them, language except for a few chapters in Aramaic. The New Testament books, 27 of them, were written primarily in the common Greek language of the Roman Empire.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 11 p. 1
June 5, 1997