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[The Bible] is God’s Word. It is eternally true. It is needed for instruction, for reproof, for righteousness, and yes, for the freshness of His voice every morning. Whoever copied the words of the original manuscript onto those papyri little dreamed that God would preserve it with its timeless truths over so much time. The text before us recorded Jesus’ words to the woman with the alabaster ointment, telling her that what she had done in worship of the Lord would be told wherever the gospel was preached. And here, in a room in the University of Michigan two thousand years later, we saw, touched, and reveled in Christ our eternal contemporary.
We mistakenly demean the transtemporal nature of God’s Word when we think of it as the “same old thing.” It is the timeless new thing, like fresh dew on parched grass, like water to a thirsty soul, and thirst is never only a thing of the past. …
David said it best: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”1 Until we learn to treasure that Word and look through it to the source of all life, we will be like little puppies ripping into the imagination and leaving it in tatters. God’s Word is the deposit made in the memory bank of the soul. That is the bank that provides the capital from which to draw when life exacts a cost. Living off that capital provides the wonder in perpetuity, for heaven and earth may pass away, but His Word abides forever.
We may change, but His Word does not change because it is true for every stage of life, in every circumstance. It keeps us in touch with the new. It keeps us real in our expectations, promising not a trouble-free trip but God’s presence in every trial. It keeps our feet in tune with our head and provides strength for the journey, all the way.—Ravi Zacharias2
All Scripture is breathed out by God, claims the New Testament.3 We should therefore expect corroborative external evidence from history, archaeology, and related disciplines, but in the end the Word of God will authenticate itself by being perceived to be the Word of God by what it says, by its inner coherence and ring of truth. Without indulging in sentimentality or over-imagination, when we engage with the Word of God we can sense in our spirit and heart at times the very presence of God, and know that he is speaking to us…
This is one of the open secrets of Daniel’s life and witness. He believed that the Scriptures were the living Word of God. This conviction is still the secret of how to live in “Babylon” without “Babylon” living in you.—John Lennox4
God’s love letter
The Bible is not merely some religious book, but it is the most amazing, marvelous book in the whole world—which has the answers to everything: where we came from, how we got here, why we’re here, how to survive and be happy while here, and how to love and have happiness forever.
Consider the following seven facts that set it apart as a unique volume:
1) The Bible is unique in its continuity. It was written over a 1,500-year time span by over 40 authors from every walk of life, including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, shepherds, soldiers, poets, statesmen, scholars, etc. Nevertheless, from beginning to end, its authors spoke on hundreds of controversial subjects with harmony and continuity, outlining one unfolding story: God’s love and purpose for humanity.
2) The Bible has been read by more people than any other book. It has outsold every book that has ever been written, and it still sells more copies every year than any other book in the world.
3) The Bible has been translated and published in more languages than any other book in existence. As far back as 1966 the whole Bible had appeared in 240 languages and dialects, and one or more of its books appeared in 739 additional ones.
4) The Bible, compared with all other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined. Although originally written on perishable materials, having to be recopied by hand for thousands of years before the invention of the printing press, its style, correctness and accuracy has been preserved as has no other book in history. Thousands of ancient manuscripts in the original languages have been unearthed which prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Scriptures have come down through the ages to us as they were originally written.
5) The Bible has withstood vicious attacks as has no other book. Many have tried to burn it, destroy it, and outlaw it from the days of the Roman emperors. Its very existence today and the fact that its teachings and truths have been preserved despite the countless campaigns and tirades against it is in itself miraculous.
6) Discovery after discovery by modern archaeologists has confirmed the Bible’s accuracy and has proven it to be an accurate source of history. Archaeologists following Old Testament references have rediscovered whole nations.
7) The Bible is the only volume ever produced which contains a large number of prophecies accurately predicting the future of individual nations, peoples, cities, and the coming of one who was to be the Messiah. The Bible is full of countless detailed, specific prophecies that have been miraculously fulfilled—except, of course, those yet to be fulfilled.
Each of us is on a long journey, and the one who knows the way has instructed some of His men to draw a detailed map so we won’t get lost and so we can learn the right way to operate down here and ultimately make it safely to our final destination. But to say you don’t have time to read God’s map, the Bible, is like a driver going on a long journey and saying, “Well, I’m in such a hurry to get there, I don’t have time to look at the map!” But if you’ll take the Bible and simply read it, believe it, and follow it, you will be on the right path and wind up at the right place.
Of course, the most wonderful thing about the Bible is that, through its words, we can get to know its author. For the Bible is God’s great love letter to us. Its life-giving words make it the greatest book in the world, with the only author in the world that can guarantee life, love, happiness, and heaven forever through simply reading it and believing in its main character, the one who loved us so much that He gave His own life to save us—Jesus Christ, the Son of God. All of the wonderful, thrilling things that you read about Jesus doing in the Bible can and do happen today too, for “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.”5—David Brandt Berg
Published on Anchor November 2015. Read by Jon Marc.
1 Psalm 119:11.
2 Recapture the Wonder (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005).
3 2 Timothy 3:16.
4 Against the Flow (Oxford, UK: Monarch Books, 2015).
5 Hebrews 13:8.