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The Book of books


Timothy Cross

An esteemed friend of mine runs a Christian book-selling business in Edinburgh. The business has actually been in existence for over a hundred years. They import Christian books from America and send books by mail order all over the UK. They also have a very fine line in producing beautiful cards—cards containing the message of the Gospel, and, more rarely, they publish books of their own. Of all the books that they distribute though, their runaway bestseller, in a league entirely of its own, is the Bible—those sixty-six books bound under one cover which Christians believe to be the very Word of God written. Have Christians any grounds for this audacious belief though? Well I shall answer this question by asking some further questions!

The Bible's Universality

How is it that a Book which was written so very long ago, in an Eastern culture far removed from our Western culture, continues to have such universal relevance and appeal? Medical text books, for instance, get out of date almost as soon as they are published, research being what it is. Why doesn't the Bible get out of date? Why does its ancient message still appeal across the different cultures and racial boundaries? Why does its message 'connect' with us, and fit our hearts as a key fits a lock? The answer is that the Bible is the Word of God—a message from the timeless, eternal God to us, His creatures.

The Bible's Reality

How is it that the Bible has not been banned and buried long ago? I ask this question because the Bible paints such a black picture of humanity. It does not flatter us at all. It teaches that we are all sinners by nature and practice, and as such we deserve the wrath of God. It teaches that we need to be saved. Such a blow to our pride, you would think, would not make for a universal best seller. But the Bible is a runaway best seller. Why? The answer is, again, that the Bible is the Word of God. All Scripture is inspired by God (that is, God-breathed) (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Bible's Unity

How do we explain the unity of the contents of the sixty-six books which comprise the Bible? The men who wrote it, humanly speaking, were so diverse. For instance, the time span between Moses, the author of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and John, the author of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is almost two thousand years. We would expect them to contradict each other, but they don't. In fact, Genesis and Revelation dovetail into each other perfectly. How do we explain this? We can't. We can't, that is, unless we believe that only one Mind was behind the Bible—the mind of God Himself—and that He, by the supernatural influence of His Holy Spirit, guided the pens of the various Biblical writers so that they wrote exactly what He wanted them to write.

The Bible's Prophecy

How do we explain the fulfilment of the Bible's prophecies? Isaiah 7:14, for example, predicted that the Messiah would be born miraculously of a virgin-and eventually the prophecy was fulfilled. Similarly, Micah 5:2 prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem—and eventually, in the fulness of time and totally against the odds, the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. Then there is Psalm 22. This is a Psalm which gives us a graphic, detailed depiction of Christ's crucifixion, a depiction one thousand years before the Event, before crucifixion had even been invented. How do we explain this? The only explanation is that the Bible is the Word of God. God alone knows the future, so He alone can cause the future to be written down in advance. He is described by Isaiah as the One declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done (Isaiah 46:10).

The Bible's Vitality

Finally, how can we explain the Bible's transforming power? A memorial to one John Geddie, a missionary to the South Sea Islands says this: 'When he landed in 1848 there were no Christians here; when he left in 1872 there were no heathen.'

The message of the Bible, centred on the death of Christ for sinners on Calvary's cross, transforms lives. When the Gospel is believed, things are never the same. The Bible brings new life! 1 Peter 1:23, 25 reads: You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God&ldots; That Word is the good news which was preached to you.

So the transforming power of the Bible—the felicity of accepting its contents, not to mention the calamity of rejecting its contents—is another reason why Christians believe that the Bible is the very Word of God written. Space prohibits further reasons, but as I draw this message to a close, consider this from the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter 1, paragraph 5). It says of the Bible:

'The heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole—which is to give all glory to God—the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments it doth abundantly evidence itself to be THE WORD OF GOD.'

There is then, no Book like the Bible!

How wonderful that Book divine
By inspiration given
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine
To guide our souls to heaven.

© Timothy Cross 2005 <>

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