Vol. 12 No. 5 May 2010
D. Gene West
Most books get old and pass out of existence. That is true of thousands of volumes that have been produced since the days of the invention of the printing press. We have websites on which we can search for old, out of print and rare books. We consider any book still in existence since the late 1700s a real find, and people often pay enormous prices for such volumes, whether they ever intend to read them or not. For those of us who read English, books we find dating to the mid or late 1700s are very difficult for us to read due to the changes in the style of writing, and even the shapes of the letters that make up our alphabet. It is the nature of books to go out of existence unless they are carefully cared for in such places as the Library of Congress or the British Library.
How, then, does one explain that a book that was completed more than two thousand years ago, and was for thousands of years carefully copied letter by letter by hand still exists? How do we explain that almost annually fragments and portions of manuscripts of this great book are discovered until now we have more than five thousand of them? It would seem this book is indestructible! Indeed it is, though, down through the centuries enemies of this book all over the world have made effort after effort to eradicate it. From the time of Nero Caesar, men of great power and might have tried every method to destroy the Sacred Volume. Copies of it have been gathered, torn asunder and burned. Men, such as atheistic philosophers, have ridiculed it and declared it to be of no value whatsoever. Men, in the so-called “age of reason,” mocked, ridiculed and even physically destroyed the Bible in an effort to do away with God and the righteousness for which his Book stands. Voltaire, famous French philosopher and atheist, boasted that within fifty years of his death one would be unable to find a Bible on the face of the earth. Voltaire died in Paris May 30, 1778, and yet more than two hundred years later, the Bible is alive and well, having been translated into every language and dialect on earth. It is said that Voltaire's house is used even to this day as a repository for Bibles waiting to be distributed to the people of the world. This example could be multiplied by the dozens.
Communism did its very best in the Soviet Union, and in other places, to try and keep the people from owning, reading and studying the Bible. Yet, they never succeeded. Though this same effort is being made today in communist China, thousands of Chinese elite are being taught to speak English, and their textbook is the Bible! Though Muslims all over the world are forbidden to own a copy, and though Islamic countries refuse to allow the Bible, or the faith of Christ to be taught in their nations, yet everyday Muslims read their Bibles and learn the truth regarding the only true and living God, His Son and our Savior. There is not a corner of the earth to which it has not gone. The production of other books pales into insignificance when compared with the production of Bibles all over the world. If it were a mere book of man, it would have long since gone out of existence on its own. Hence, the only other explanation is that it is not a mere human production!
Its indestructibility can also be seen in the perennial interest in its teachings. No matter where one goes in the world, he finds people who want to read and understand the Bible. Here in America, many so-called Christian denominations have turned against it, and have turned their churches into social clubs that argue the pros and cons of homosexuality, women's rights, etc. Yet, even here, we find thousands who are begging to be taught the Bible. Many are ridiculed and called such things as rightwing fundamentalists. Still, these people seek to know their Bibles. The ACLU has done all it can to get all that claims to be Christian out of the schools and government buildings, and even while they file lawsuit after lawsuit, men, women, boys and girls, by the millions, turn daily to the pages of the Bible to find the answers to life's most perplexing questions.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25).
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, nurses ran out of marker and so they used their own lipstick to write on the foreheads of wounded patients. “M” meant a sailor had received morphine. “C” meant he was in critical condition. “F” meant he was fatally wounded.
Imagine nearly all of the people you meet in your daily walk have a letter “F” on their foreheads. They are fatally wounded by sin (Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23) and its effects. Will you simply stand by and watch them perish, or will you offer them the only life-giving, soul-saving, cure (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)? “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20; cf. Jude 23).