The Book of BooksSeeing that scripture is nothing less than the words of our very Creator, it’s no wonder that throughout the centuries men and women have been astonished by them. King David said, “The law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 119:7). Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The apostle Paul said, “All Scripture is inspired of God and profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16). The writer of the book of Hebrews observed, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Others, closer to our lifetimes have said similar things: Yale professor William Lyon Phelps noted, “Our civilization is founded upon the Bible. More of our ideas, our wisdom, our philosophy, our literature, our art, our ideals come from the Bible than from all other books combined” (No Room for Doubt, Lee Williams, p. 36). Abraham Lincoln said, “But for the Bible, we could not know right from wrong”. Remarks upon the Holy Scriptures, in receiving a present of a Bible from a Negro delegation, Sept. 7, 1864. John Quincy Adams said, “The Bible is the book of all others to read at all ages and in all conditions of human life; not to be read once, or twice, or thrice through, and then laid aside; but to be read in small portions of one or two chapters a day” (What’s So Great About the Bible, Hefley, p. 72). Added to this, the Bible is the number one best-seller in the world and has been for centuries. It is the most widely translated book on the planet. The Bible has been published in 2,123 different languages. One study indicated that half of the American population reads some portion of the Bible at least once a month. No other book is read as often. The Overall Theme As many know, the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books, written by about forty different authors, living on several different continents, in different languages, and separated from one another by some sixteen centuries. Yet, the end of the Bible concurs with the beginning; the same truth is taught throughout on thousands of different subjects. Here is just one example: The Law gives the foundation for Christ The Historical books show the preparation for Christ The books of poetry express the aspiration for Christ The books of prophecy proclaim the expectation of Christ The gospels record the historical manifestation of Christ The book of Acts relates the preaching of Christ The Epistles give the interpretation of Christ The book of Revelation reveals the consummation of Christ What some forget is that no human publisher commissioned the writing of the Bible. No human editor set forth a plan; no editorial committee oversaw its development, and no one distributed an outline to the various authors. It Answers all the “College Questions”: Who am I? Genesis 1:26 Why am I here? Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Where did I come from? Ecclesiastes 12:7 What is my purpose? 1 Peter 2:9-10 What is the significance of my life? Matthew 16:26 Where am I going? 2 Corinthians 5:10 What is my destiny? Matthew 25:46 What should I do? Ephesians 2:10 How should I live? Galatians 2:20 No wonder Paul said the Scriptures will make the man of God complete for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Hebrew writer said that the Word of God is able to pierce as far as the division of soul and spirit, and is able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The fact that it answers and addresses the deepest questions that can possibly dwell in the human heart, only validates such a statement. Concise and Useful Here is what two authors said about the Sermon on the Mount recorded in three Bible chapters, Matthew 5-7: “If you were to take the sum total of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene – if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excess verbiage – if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the sermon on the mount” (A Few Buttons Missing, J.T. Fisher, L.S. Hawley, p. 273). Thomas Jefferson described the teaching of Christ as, “The most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has been offered to man” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams in 1813). Jesus’ Teaching It has been admitted by many that Jesus certainly taught the highest moral standard know to man. So how do we account for this fact? William Jennings Bryan said of Jesus, “Reared in the home of a carpenter, never having access to the (secular) wisdom of the past, never coming in contact with the sages of other lands, and yet, when only thirty years of age He gave to the world a code of morality the like of which the world has never seen” (The Greatest Thoughts about Jesus Christ, Lawson, p. 138). The Bible’s Moral Influence Even though it seems that fewer people are following the Bible, this country is still coasting on the values derived from the Scriptures. Daniel Webster was once asked, “What is the most important thought you ever entertained?” He replied, “The thought of my individual responsibility to God” (Lawson, p. 120). Even Charles Darwin observed, “A man about to be shipwrecked on some unknown coast will devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary will have reached that far?” He meant that where the Gospel has not gone civilization has not gone, and such a shipwrecked man would likely find himself in the soup tureen of a tribe of husky cannibals (What if the Bible had never been Written? D. James Kennedy, p. 42). The Bible and Law “The statutes of the Lord as right” (Psalm 19:8). William Blackstone (1723-1780) wrote a multivolume series of commentaries on British law. Since 1793 our United States Supreme Court has referred to Blackstone over 272 times. Blackstone wrote, “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20), and the law of revelation (The Scriptures), depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these” (Blackstone, Commentaries, 1:42). Blackstone equally noted, that the belief in heaven and hell makes all the difference in whether or not people obey the laws of the land. The Bible and Science As you may have noticed, we live in a modern culture that often rejects the idea of absolute truth, nevertheless modern science could have never even arisen in such a godless culture, for where there are no absolutes, there would be no absolutes even in nature – thus all experimentation would be only relative. The early scientists shared the outlook of Christianity, that is, believing that there is a reasonable God who has created a reasonable universe, and thus man, by use of his reason, could find out the universe’s form. Now relativism is currently fashionable among the so called “wise of this age”. “Among the intelligentsia, there is a relativistic movement claiming that the text has no specific message or truth contained in it, but only the meaning and message perceived by the individual reader. Applied to the Bible, this view is basically saying that the Bible says whatever you think it says, and what message or truth you get from it is entirely up to you” (Kennedy, p. 243). God is not impressed and neither should we. “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor. 1:20) The Challenge in our Time With fewer young people are reading books, there is a danger that the present generation is being disconnected from the history of the past, and that the lessons from past generations, especially concerning morality and responsibility are not being passed on. The challenge then becomes clear: Let us continue to become experts in this amazing book, and speak out confidently its life-changing, eternity-changing truths everywhere we go.