Monday, 10 March 2014

What makes the Bible unique?

How would the typical person react when they hear you regularly read the Bible? 

The Bible?!?  Why would you read the Bible?  What makes the Bible so special that you would actually read it instead of other books?

Take a look.

This "book" is unique in its continuity.  It is written over the span of 1500 years.  It has 40 different authors from 40 different generations from all walks of life: kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, doctors, tax collectors, herdsmen, poets, statesmen, scholars etc.  It is written in different places, from the wilderness, to a dungeon, to a palace, to a remote island.  It is written during war.  It is written during peace.  It is written in times of joy.  It is written in times of sorrow and despair.  It is written on three different continents: Asia, Africa and Europe.  It is written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  It speaks of hundreds of controversial issues that even in our own generation would never be agreed upon - and yet the Bible speaks with one, unified voice as though written by one author (say the Holy Spirit?). 

This "book" is unique in its circulation.  It has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other book - even languages that are no longer used! 

This "book" is unique in its translation.  It has been translated and retranslated and paraphrased more than any other book in existence.  By 1966, the whole Bible appeared in 240 languages with one or more of its books appearing in 739 additional languages - totalling 1,280 languages. 

This "book" is unique in its survival.  The Bible, compared with any other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any 10 pieces of classical literature combined!  It has been persecuted, burned, outlawed, destroyed only to come back in greater circulation.  It has been criticized, doubted, said to be "on its last days" hundreds of times over the millennia and remains easily defended by scholars to this day. 

This "book" is unique in its teaching.  It is the only volume ever produced in which is to be found a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, to Israel, to all the peoples of the earth, to certain cities, and to the coming of One who was to be the Messiah - that can actually be shown to have been fulfilled.  It stands alone in historical accuracy and age.  It is the only document to outline ethnic and linguistic complexities in such a seemingly "modern" way.  It speaks frankly and honestly of the sins and errors of the people, something not found in any other histories, not even the biographies of today. 

This "book" is unique in its influence on surrounding literature.  "If every Bible in any considerable city were destroyed, the Book could be restored in all its essential parts from the quotations on the shelves of the city public library."  "It is evidence of His importance, of the effect that He has had upon history and presumably, of the baffling mystery of His being that no other life ever lived on this planet has evoked so huge a volume of literature among so many peoples and languages, and that, far from ebbing, the flood continues to mount."  There are more Christians today than at any other point in history. 

No - this doesn't prove the Bible is the Word of God.  But it does prove the Bible is unique.  It does prove that is SO extremely different from every other volume ever produced that if any person was truly concerned with truth, it would be the obvious first place to start, and perhaps the only place one ever need go.

Read your Bible.  Hear the Word of God preached.  Ask your pastor questions about anything you read or hear.  Because the Lord has revealed Himself to mankind from eternity and His unified message still speaks to those who have ears to hear.  And the best part - His sole purpose in speaking - the only reason the Bible exists is to deliver you the promise of forgiveness, life and salvation won for you in His Son, Jesus Christ.  You are forgiven.  It is true.

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