THE BIBLE- A Book 1
A. R. Wright
A happy New Year to you all! May it bring you joy and strength and good success. And remember, if you are to be truly successful, you must take Jesus as your Saviour and friend, and the Bible as your guide. John Bunyan pictures his pilgrim starting out with the Bible in his hand. Charles Dickens put the Bible on the top of his boy’s trunk 2 as the lad was leaving home for the first time. As you set out upon the New Year see that you take your Bible with you and consult it constantly. We plan to speak of the Bible under different figures, and first the most familiar, namely “The Bible- a Book”. Perhaps the simplest way to treat our subject would be in the form of an acrostic, B-I-B-L-E. The Bible is:
1.THE BEST BOOK
The word Bible means Book, and so when we speak of the Bible we mean THE Book. The Bible is the best Book in the world. According to Martin Luther, the Bible is the only book, to which all the books of the world are but waste paper in comparison. When Sir Walter Scott was on his death bed, he said to his son-in-law Lockhart, “Bring me the Book, sir”. “What book?” asked Lockhart. “THE Book, the Bible”, said Sir Walter, “there is only one.” Sir Walter had written many books himself, his library was packed with the world’s best books, but he regarded the Bible as the best book of all. The Bible is the best Book because it has “God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter.” 3 The Bible is given by inspiration of God. In other words, it is God-breathed 4, and so distinct from all other books. In it we have God’s message to a needy world. It answers authoritatively our great questions, “Where have I come from?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going?
2. THE INTERESTING BOOK
Where can we find such interesting stories as those which we have in the Bible? “Oh do tell me the name of the book with these stories, and I will get my mother to buy it for us”, said a boy to a friend who was telling some stories to a group of children. “Oh!”, she cried, “it’s the Bible.” His face fell, for he thought that the Bible was a dull, dry, old book for old people. Now, far from being so, the Bible is the best story book in the world. A present day writer has said, “Why! there is no story book like the Bible, and I’m ever so glad that parents and teachers made me commit so many of its sentences, and paragraphs, and poems to memory. I can repeat them now, and sometimes when I remember them I feel as strong as Samson against temptation, I feel as brave as Daniel for the right”. The Bible then is most interesting for children, and as you grow in years you will find that it grows in interest. Indeed, the person who is “in Christ” has a new love for the Bible because he is then wedded to its author. Lady Jane Grey, being asked on one occasion, in a tone of surprise, how it was she did not join in the pleasures of hunting but preferred to sit at home and read the Bible, replied, smiling, “All amusements of that description are but a shadow of the pleasure which I enjoy in reading this Book”. Like the Psalmist she found God’s word most interesting. 5
3. THE BIG BOOK
Some of you may have received as a prize “The Big Book for Boys”, or “The Big Book for Girls”. 6 I think we might speak of the Bible as “The Big Book for Boys and Girls”. The Bible is big in regard to contents. It contains 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New, and is a library in itself. It took nearly 1,500 years to write it, and God used over 30 different people in the writing.
Again, the Bible is big in regard to themes. It speaks with authority on such big subjects as God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Man, sin, salvation, and the future life. It show sus that we are all sinners, and that God in His infinite mercy made provision whereby sinners can be saved. From beginning to end the Bible points us to Christ as our only hope of salvation; He is the centre and the core of the whole Book.
Again, the Bible is big in regard to influence. Think of its influence upon the world. Someone has written, “The Bible has converted the tomahawk 7 into the wood-axe, the weapons of barbaric warfare into implements of husbandry 8 ; built smiling villages on the sites of miserable encampments; reconciled alien 9 races, and united hostile, ferocious tribes”. Think of its influence upon the nation. J. R. Green in describing English life of 300 years ago, said “England became the people of a book, and that book was the Bible”. Khama, the great and good African king, once asked Queen Victoria the secret of Britain’s greatness and by way of reply the Queen handed him a Bible. Think of its influence upon the individual. How often God has used the Bible to convince and convert, to guide and comfort, to revive and empower. Take the case of Augustine. When greatly concerned about his soul he once heard as it were the voice of a child saying “Tolle, lege!” (Take and read!). He opened the Bible at Romans 13:13-14, and the result was that a mother’s earnest prayers were answered in his conversion. Henceforth the bible was the man of his counsel 10 and the guide of his life. 11
4. THE LASTING BOOK
Some books are popular for a time, and then they are forgotten. The Bible is a book which lasts. The Word of the Lord endures forever. 12 It has been subjected to the fires of bitter persecution and destructive criticism, but it has been wondrously preserved, and today is still the world’s best seller. It will last as long as this world lasts 13 and perhaps even longer. J. P. Struthers writes in one of the copies of The Morning Watch, “I think the Covenanters were wrong when, on the scaffold 14, they used such phrases as ‘Farewell sweet Bible’. We are not done with the Word of God when we die, and we shall never be done with it. The Bible, so to speak, is only a few pages taken out of the Books of God that are written in Heaven. Parts of it, such as the 2nd and the 22nd and the 40th and 110th Psalms were spoken to One Another by the Three Persons of the Godhead before time was. All of it, and all else that has ever been written said or done, that God wishes us to know, will be revealed and explained and talked about hereafter. To say there will be no Bible in Heaven is just as ridiculous as to say that we ourselves shall not know one another. The Bible is bound up with our personal history, and it will be no more possible to forget than it will be to forget our own names and all that God has done for us”.
5. EVERYBODY’S BOOK
The Bible is the Book for all kindreds, and nations, and people, and tongues. It has been translated into more than 1, 000 languages. It is the Book for all classes and conditions; for rich and poor, slave and free, old and young. It is the Book for you boys and girls. Timothy, from childhood knew the Scriptures. 15 Andrew Hislop, the youthful Covenanter martyr, confronted his murderers with the Bible in his hand. To Mary Jones, the famous Welsh lassie who saved her pennies for six years and who then walked twenty-five miles to buy a Bible, the Rev. Mr. Charles in handing her a copy said, “Read it carefully, study it diligently, treasure up the sacred words in your memory, and act up to its teaching”. Good advice to you for this New Year.
- Originally published at the beginning of a new year.
- A kind of big box used as a suitcase
- From “The Baptist Faith and Message”, Article 1, 1925.
- 2 Timothy 3:16
- Psalm 119:96
- Books by Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Strang.
- A small axe, often used in warfare.
- The cultivation and care of crops and animals.
- Psalm 119:24
- Psalm 119:106
- Isaiah 40:8
- Matthew 5:18
- A place where people were hanged.
- 2 Timothy 3:15