Did you ever wish there was a handbook for life – a HOW TO LIVE LIFE WELL BOOK? Well, there is! It’s called the BIBLE! God Himself guarantees that reading and applying the Bible will benefit our lives: Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8 New Living Translation)
The Bible is unlike any other book:
- It took 16 centuries to write by at least 40 different writers in 3 different languages and on 3 separate continents. Yet it has one clear, central and consistent theme – God’s salvation of humankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.
- It has improved lives, stirred controversy and inspired social change around the world, like nothing else – ever!
- It is the most translated, most published and bestselling book in history, and it remains so today.
- It has Jesus’ personal guarantee of blessing to all who read it or hear it and apply its principles in their lives: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 New International Version)
Great persons have said great things about the Bible:
- Abraham Lincoln said the Bible “is the best gift God has given to men.”
- President Theodore Roosevelt: “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”
- English Philosopher John Locke: “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.”
- Isaac Newton: “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”
Just two more but very important quotes:
- George Washington warned in his 1796 farewell address: “It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters.”
- Author Victor Hugo attributed the prowess of British culture in the world to the Bible: “England has two books, the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.”
So much good in the world and people’s lives is directly attributable to the respect given the Bible in previous generations. Unfortunately for all of us, that is changing.
A paradigm change concerning the Bible is sweeping Western countries and culture:
- A change in public confidence – In a published study by the Pew Research Center dated May 15, 2017, it states: “From the mid-1970s through 1984, close to 40% of Americans considered the Bible the literal word of God, but this has been declining ever since, along with a shrinking percentage of self-identified Christians in the U.S. Meanwhile, the percentage defining the Bible as mere stories has doubled, with much of that change occurring in the past three years.”[i]
- A change in cultural significance – A recent study reveals that the Bible’s perceived significance to life and society is diminishing rapidly, especially among the young. 77% of Americans believe that values and morals are declining in our country and 32% attribute that decline to a lack of Bible reading. Also, while the number of those friendly toward the Bible has declined (45% to 39%), the number of those antagonistic toward it has nearly doubled (10% to 17%).[ii]
- A change in personal importance – Although most Americans own from 1 to 4 Bibles, only 1 in 4 Christians read the Bible at least 4 times per week and 1 in 4 church goers never read it. Consequently, there is a growing ignorance of what the Bible teaches. “As a whole, Americans, including many Christians, hold unbiblical views on hell, sin, salvation, Jesus, humanity, and the Bible itself.”[iii]
We are living amidst a societal catastrophe foretold and being fulfilled:
- For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 New Living Translation)
- When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. (Proverbs 29:18 NLT)
[i] At News.gallup.com/poll shows “Record few Americans believe the Bible is the literal Word of God”.
[ii] At Churchexecutive.com in article titled “What do Americans really think about the Bible?”
[iii] In article by Ed Stetzer titled “The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches”.