As a young girl followed her mother through a bookstore, something caught her youthful eye. She apparently saw something different about one particular book that set it apart from the others that filled the racks and shelves. As curiosity filled the young child, she asked her mother, “What’s that?” Her mother curtly responded, “It’s a book.” So mother and daughter promptly moved on to look at other things, with nothing more said about the book that captured the young girl’s imagination. That book was the Bible.
The above story is true, as related to me by a Christian lady who works at the bookstore where this mother-daughter dialogue took place. The mother’s unhelpful answer to her daughter manifests the world’s increasing ignorance of and callousness toward the Bible. “It’s a book”? The Bible is as far from being just a book as any book could be.
It’s a book by which God speaks to man. No, rephrase that—the Bible is the book by which God speaks to man. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Of what novel could this be said? Of what textbook could this be said? “God…hath…spoken” (Heb. 1:1-2). What a wondrous blessing that is! Our Creator has revealed Himself to us and speaks to us, but He only does so through the Bible.
It’s a book infallible in every way. “[God’s] word is true from the beginning: and every one of [His] righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psa. 119:160). From beginning to end, every word of the Bible is true. Of what other book could this be said? Every historical tidbit is precise. Every scientific statement is accurate, even if it was not corroborated by science until centuries or millennia later. Textbooks continue to have new revisions almost every year, because the writers’ “facts” change. But with the Bible, one can be sure he has the facts. And only the Bible provides such assurance.
It’s a book that illuminates the way through darkness. The world is filled with conflicting philosophies and religious doctrines. The world is filled with temptations to ensnare us as we attempt to make our way through our earthly lives. Satan attempts to keep the world in darkness, to keep people from finding out what is truly important in life and to keep people from God (2 Cor. 4:4). His efforts have been largely successful. With such darkness, how is one to make it through his earthly life without stumbling and falling? “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:19). Only the Bible provides illumination brilliant enough to pierce the gloom: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105).
It’s a book that provides Divinely-selected historical accounts that best encourage and instruct the child of God. Learning history, and especially learning from history, is valuable. As many history teachers well remind their students, “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat its mistakes.” I have personally found great encouragement in reading biographies of pioneer preachers and other faithful Gospel preachers who have gone on before. However, when God has specially chosen which past figures of history to profile and which information to include in their accounts, one can be certain that those accounts, without ever overly glorifying or romanticizing the men and women they profile, will prove particularly encouraging and instructing (cf. Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 10:11).
It’s a book that shows us how to be saved and remain saved. Without the Bible, man would likely not perceive that he is lost—he would certainly not perceive the separation his sin brings from God and the punishment that his sin demands. But the Bible not only indicates man’s lost state, it constantly points the way toward salvation. As a drowning man esteems the life preserver that comes his way to be of inestimable value, so much the more should a man who has been lost in his sin esteem the Bible. “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).
It’s a book that shows us an eternity we can anticipate. Without the Bible, we could easily think that this life is the only life we have to live, and that this world is the best that man’s Creator could offer. But the Scriptures make clear that man’s Creator has prepared dwelling places for His redeemed far greater than anything human eyes have ever beheld, or that human imagination could ever conceive (John 17:24; Rev. 14:13; 21-22).
People need to understand that the Bible is far more than just a book. It is the Book of books, unapproached by the most timeless classics that the earth’s greatest authors have offered. Parents need to seize opportunities to teach their children what a marvelous book it is. Every human being needs to appreciate what a wondrous blessing it is to have the Bible, and to treasure it, constantly mining its unsearchable depths.