What is the most bought – the most popular – the most published book in human history? (The Bible.) Just think what your family fortune would be worthy if you had bought Gutenberg stock 550 years ago. Why do you think it is that the Bible the most printed book in human history? Well then why is it so often publically ridiculed, ignored, lambasted, disparaged and hated? What does the general world think about a person who reads his Bible every day? What does the world say about a person who publically carries and publically reads his Bible every day? But again I have to ask: Why have more copies of the Bible been produced than any other book in history?
When someone questions your use of the Bible, ask him that question. And then give him the Biblical answer.
The Bible is unique in its CONTINUITY. What is continuity? (An uninterrupted whole.) Who wrote the first pages of scripture? (Moses.) Who wrote the last of the scriptures? (John the Apostle.) How many years passed between the time of Moses and John? (1500 to 1600 years.) How many penmen did God use to record the scriptures? (About 40.) How well disbursed throughout those 1500 years were those penmen? How many of those forty people were scholars?
In how many different languages were the scriptures originally written? (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.) Were these isolated dialects limited to an handful of people? Hebrew may have been a national language, but it was not confined to a small group of people. Aramaic was the common language of all the Near East until the days of Alexander the Great. Koine Greek was the international language of the Western world during the days of the Apostles. So is the Bible a uniquely Jewish book? (It is a uniquely universal book.)
Does the Bible avoid the controversial and important subjects of humanity? Despite the variety of issues addressed, what are some of the subjects which transect the Bible from cover to cover? (The holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, redemption through Christ.) As a result, as someone has said, just as any part of the human body can only be properly explained in reference to the whole body, any part of the Bible can only be properly explained in reference to the entire Bible.
My wife Judy inherited a set of books which called itself the “Greatest Works of the Western World.” It contains about 450 works by close to a hundred authors, spanning about 2500 years. Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Dante, Calvin, Shakespeare, Hume, Kant, Darwin, Tolstoy, etc. etc. Not only is there no single theme among them, many contradict and attack each other. How very, very different from the 66 books of the Bible.
These things don’t prove divine inspiration, but they do challenge people to consider the Bible.
According to the United Bible Society, in 1998 member organizations published 20.8 million copies of the complete scriptures. In that same year there were another 20.1 million copies of the New Testament. (Of course as Fundamental Baptists, we do not agree that they were all properly translated.)
Does this prove that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? (No, but it does prove its uniqueness.)
No other book in history comes close to comparing with the Bible in its translation activity.
How careful were the Jews in copying the Old Testament scriptures? They counted and other wise kept tabs on every paragraph, word, letter and syllable of scripture. For example they knew what the 1000th word in the Book of Exodus was supposed to be, and if their proof-readers found it at the 1001st spot that entire copy was thrown away. Who ever counted the letters or words in writings of Aristotle? That the Bible survived the test of time is amazing.
But it also survived persecution.
From the days of the Romans to the days of the Communists many have tried to declare the Bible an enemy to society, and that included some of the so-called Christian denominations. In 303 AD Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered all Christians to stop worshiping and to destroy their Scriptures. He said that anyone found worshiping would loose their liberty or their lives. He destroyed churches and burned as many Bibles as he could find. Ironically just a few years later Emperor Constantine ordered 50 copies of the scriptures to be preserved at government expense. Fourteen centuries later Voltaire, the French infidel, declared that in one hundred years Christianity and its Bible would cease to exist, but only fifty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire’s printing press and house to produce Bibles. The Bible’s enemies come and go, but the Bible just keep on going. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” The Bible has survived every kind of criticism.
Robert Dick Wilson, a man fluent in 45 languages and dialects spent his life studying the Old Testament. He concluded: “I may add that the result of my forty-five years of study of the Bible has led me all the time to a firmer faith that in the Old Testament we have a true historical account of the history of the Israelite people.”
What does Deuteronomy 18 say must be true of a prophet? (Complete accuracy.) “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” By that standard was Nostradamus a prophet of God? Remember Jean Dixon? Are astrologers of God? How many of the Biblical prophesies regarding events of past history were not accurate? How many of the prophesies of the first coming of Jesus were not accurate? What nation did the Bible predict would succeed the Empire of the Medes and the Persians? Was it true?
In the 19th century, as the science of Archeology began to grow, what was the attitude of most of its proponents toward the Bible? As Archeology continued to develop did it prove that the histories of the Bible were unreliable? For example, Genesis 10 gives us what is called the “Table of Nations” William F. Albright, one of the foremost of all Biblical Archeologists said of Genesis 10: “It stand absolutely alone in ancient literature without a remote parallel even among the Greeks. The Table of Nations remains an astonishingly accurate document.”
Someone has said, “The Bible is not such a book a man would write if he could, or could write if he would.” One reason for that is the revelation of men’s sin. Most of the heros of the Bible are accurately depicted as sinners. What was one of Abraham’s sins? What was one of David’s sins? What was one of the Apostle John’s sins? The Bible is not fantasy, but real reality.
Jean Jacques Rousseau was not a Christian. He believed that all men were essentially good and didn’t really need a Saviour. But he once said, “Behold the works of our philosophers; with all their pompous diction, how mean and contemptible they are by comparison with the Scriptures. Is it possible that a book at once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of man?
I think that this is a good thought upon which to conclude this morning.