Of all the great books out there, the Bible is well worth your time to read and study carefully. It has enriched the lives of millions down through the ages, and continues to encourage and inspire ordinary people to live great lives. What is it about the Bible, that makes it such a valuable resource, and such a great way to invest your time?
The Bible claims to be inspired by God. Of all the millions of books ever written, a very small number have actually made this claim, and if the Bible were like those other books, we might dismiss it as self-serving and not worthy of our time. But upon closer examination, we see something different about the Bible’s claims of inspiration. The claim is made in many of the 66 books of the Bible, and the claim is made in various and convincing ways. For example, Peter claims that the Bible writers “spake from God, being moved (lit. carried along) by the Holy Spirit,” (2 Pet. 1:21). David consistently maintained that the Spirit of God actually “spake by me, and his word was upon my tongue,” (2 Sam. 23:2). Jeremiah and the other prophets were said to have God’s words “in their mouth,” (Jer. 1:9). Paul informed Timothy that “all scripture is inspired by God,” (2 Tim. 3:16), and even detailed the verbal nature of the process, (1 Cor. 2:6-16). The Scriptures are equated with the word of God 175 times in one chapter alone (Psalms 119). Many times the writer claims divine inspiration for his message or reports the effects of such inspiration on others. There are direct accounts of written revelation, such as Moses receiving the ten commandments. The Old Testament prophets often claimed that their message was of divine origin by prefacing the revelation with the following phrase: “Thus says the LORD” (e.g., 1 Kg. 12:2224; 1 Chron. 17:3-4; Ez. 2:4; Zech. 7:9, etc.). We even have instances in the Bible of one writer verifying the inspiration of another, such as Peter acknowledging that Paul’s works were inspired by God, (2 Pet. 3:14-18).
So how many times have you read a book which is actually from God himself? I know you have probably read fantastic books, some of which you could hardly put down. But imagine opening a book authored by God himself. Imagine the God of the universe handing you a book and saying, “Here is my message to you.” Would you not feel it imperative to read it at once? And would you not value and treasure every moment while reading it?
The Bible is unlike any other book. Composed of 66 separate books, this is actually a library of inspired works, a collection of books from God. These 66 books were written by some 40 different writers, all known to be inspired by God. These writers came from various backgrounds, and lived over a period of some 1600 years. Yet, amazingly, they all tell a unified story, a message of one central theme. The older books look forward to the coming of a Savior, and the newer books tell of his amazing life, death, burial, and resurrection. They go on to explain how to live for him and how to be saved eternally. Talk about a thrilling read, who could set it aside once they understand this? And then add to this central story the poetical and devotional readings which lift the spirit and enrich every-day living. All of this is backed up with historical stories of love and devotion, of courage and valor, of all the emotions typical of people in every age. These stories leap from the pages of the Bible in their realistic relevance to modern life.
Unlike any other book, we see people like us. We see the good and the bad, honesty and deceit, faithfulness and treachery. We see congregations and individuals struggling with sin. But we also see instructions and remedies for healing. The book does not shy away from rebuking and correcting, and makes no effort to be politically correct. It speaks to the heart in clear, unmistakable language. And the timely message hits close to home for every reader, addressing subjects with clarity and reliable accuracy, like no other book. The reader is drawn in more and more, deeper into the heart of God, and finds just what is needed to get through another day.
Take the time to read your Bible! Consider it carefully, and learn to love it more and more. Give the Bible a prominent place in your home and in your heart. Teach its precepts to your children, and share it with your friends. Recognize what a tremendous privilege and freedom we have to be able to own and read the Bible—the book of books!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.