|Volume 20 Number 1 January 2018||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
There are two perspectives from which one can discern that the Bible is not just another book. First, the Bible considered as simply a specimen of literature is without peers. This primarily pertains to an external analysis of the Book and contrasting it with anything and everything else ever written. Secondly, the Bible is superior as well to every other book from internal evaluation of it and in contrast to every other book ever penned. This pertains to the inescapable acknowledgement by honest hearts of the divine origin of the Bible. From every reflection, the Holy Word of God—the Bible—is not just another book.
The most revered ancient secular manuscripts rely on a handful of copies far removed from the originals for their contemporary existence. On the other hand, the Bible’s contemporary presence and content results from an expansive, incomparable foundation of many thousands of witnesses. The type of witnesses to which we refer are thousands of ancient manuscript copies of the Bible books in the original biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; thousands of antique translations of the Bible in various languages; numerous lectionaries (worship service Scripture selections); and the writings of the so-called Church Fathers over several centuries following the commencement of Christianity (i.e., defenses of Christianity and early commentaries). The Bible is the best attested literary work on earth with neither peers nor any other writing even close to being as thoroughly validated as it is. Obviously, the Bible is not just another book!
Most books do not claim to be divine in origin, and the few that do miserably fail to prove that they are divine in origin. The Bible, though, not only claims to be inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), but there is more than enough internal evidence to unquestionably validate its claim. Chief among the internal evidences to the Bible’s divine origin are its hundreds of prophecies, all of which were fulfilled completely, often hundreds of years after the prophetic utterances were made. Mere men are incapable of making accurate predictions hundreds of years prior to their anticipated fulfillment, though the Bible does precisely this. Therefore, writings in which predictions fail are not from God (Deuteronomy 18:22), but the Bible, in which hundreds of prophecies were fulfilled, is clearly divine in origin. The Bible is not just another book.
Over 300 prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah—Jesus Christ—were fulfilled in every detail. That achievement is beyond the possibility of self-fulfilling prophecies (e.g., birthplace, no bones broken). In addition, Old Testament prophecies concerning the redemption of penitent souls being available in the New Testament era (Isaiah 2:2-3; Joel 2:28-3:2; Acts 2:16-21; Ephesians 3:9-11; Hebrews 8:8-13; 9:12-22) confirm the divine origin of the Bible. Yes, the Bible is not just another book.
Since the Bible is divine in origin, it is God speaking directly to mankind. As such, we need to handle correctly its message (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV) and apply its teachings to our lives (Luke 6:46; John 14:15). The Bible is one’s roadmap from here on earth to an eternity in Heaven with God for eternity. We must follow the map! Beyond that, the Bible alone can inform us from where we humans came, why we are here, where we are going and how to get there. Only the Bible can equip us adequately regarding salvation, Christian worship, Christian service, Christian living and Christian doctrine. The Bible, then, is not just another book.
The Bible is not just another book! However, the Bible will remain ineffective for one’s earthly and eternal well-being as long as it—God’s Word—is not applied to one’s life. Anyone who does not acknowledge the Bible as divine in origin and apply its doctrine to his or her life treats the Bible as though it were just another book (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Yet, the Bible is not just another book. It is the Book from God, actually comprised of 66 books, written by about 40 human secretaries over approximately 1,600 years. We dare not treat the Bible as though it were just another book resulting from mortal ingenuity, and thereby, of relatively little consequence.
The Way of Transgressors Is Hard
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Proverbs 13:15, from which the title of this article comes, we would know to be true even if we did not read it in the Bible. This truth can be learned from experience, from a study of history or from observation. Sin is by its very nature difficult. While the devil certainly attempts to paint a different picture, sin always reaps a harvest of trouble! Sometimes sin’s consequences are delayed in coming (Ecclesiastes 8:11), but they will always come. Despite this guarantee, many go on in sin and bring upon themselves the “hard way.” God’s Word is inundated with references to sinners who failed to heed this truth.
Firstly, consider Cain. He transgressed regarding the matter of worship. God was clear on what He wanted concerning worship (Hebrews 11:4; Romans 10:17). However, Cain did what many continue to do today. He self-reasoned that God would accept whatever it was Cain gave. Sadly, how many today attempt to worship God based on their own desires? God is clear on the matter of worship (John 4:24), and regardless what man says will not change that fact! Cain’s transgression, like all transgressions, had to be punished. God rebuked Cain (Genesis 4:10-12) and expressed the hardship of his sin. “And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me” (Genesis 4:13-14). How hard is the way of the transgressor!
Secondly, consider Haman. Haman’s pride and prejudice were deep-seated. He passed a law that everyone would bow down to him, which manifested his pride (Esther 3:2). He hated all the Jews when one refused to bow, which manifested his prejudice (Esther 3:5-6). He then set in motion a diabolical plan to destroy the Jews. However, harvest time came. His pride was deflated when he led Mordecai through the streets (Esther 6:7-11). Interestingly, his life was ended on the very gallows he had prepared for another (Esther 7:9-10). Pride is a serious sin among God’s people. Are you proud? Someone correctly said, Pride looks highly on self, lowly on others and falsely on God. Is the way of transgressors hard? Ask Haman as he ascended the steps of his own gallows!
Thirdly, consider the rich man. Interestingly, the Bible does not indicate that he obtained his wealth in a dishonest way. He just simply was not benevolent (Luke 16:21). He wasn’t outwardly mean to Lazarus; he just “looked past Lazarus.” Some are not necessarily sinful from the outside looking in. They may just be a bit selfish and not willing to look out for others. Consider how many people go about their day, simply focused on themselves. They worship, and at the worship they see widows and widowers who are lonely, children who are abandoned, and others who are discouraged, and yet, they never lift a finger to encourage or help these ones in any way. They are so wrapped up in themselves that they cannot see further than “the noses on their faces.” Someone has correctly said, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package!” Ask the rich man about the hardness of being selfish and wrapped up in himself.
Ironically, there are no exceptions to this rule (Galatians 6:6-10). The way of transgressors is a hard way to go! The good news is that you do not have to travel this way. Heed the inspired penman’s words, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…” (Hebrews 2:1-3a).