It took Thomas Jefferson about seventeen days to write the Declaration of Independence. Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in just two weeks. And the popular little self-help book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, was written by Richard Carlson during a twelve-hour transatlantic flight.
Well, I know a book that wasn’t rushed. It was written over a span of 1400 years, and more than forty authors had a hand in composing it. These writers came from all walks of life—from kings to peasants—and they wrote under every conceivable condition. Some were in love, some were in jail, some were in trouble, and some occupied positions of wealth and power. These authors wrote on three continents and in three languages. Some were poets; others preachers. Some were historians; others history-makers. They covered hundreds of controversial subjects in sixty-six unique installments, and their writings were compiled at various stages along the way.
Yet when we pick up this book, we hold in our hands one unified volume with a logical beginning, a climactic ending, a story that comes full circle, an unfolding drama based around a central character, and a rational message that doesn’t contradict itself.
This is the wonder of God’s Word, which has not only passed the test of time—it puts time to the test and demands the respect of all the ages.
The Bible Is Inspired
Though composed by over forty authors writing over a span of fourteen hundred years, it fits together tighter than the finest novel. There is a common theme (salvation), a lurking danger (sin), a diabolical enemy (Satan), a crisis point (Calvary), and a matchless protagonist (our Lord Jesus Christ). It opens with “In the beginning” and ends 1189 chapters later with the word, “Amen.” When we read this Book, we detect one brilliant Author behind all its words—and that brings us to our Christian doctrine of inspiration. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” says 2 Timothy 3:16, “and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
Inspiration is that act of God whereby His Spirit so infused and influenced the writers of the Bible that they recorded His own words, yet without suspending their own intellects and personalities. Every word of Scripture is breathed out by God, yet every word was written by a human being who was borne along by the Holy Spirit. That makes the Bible totally divine and totally human.
The Bible Is Indispensable
Because the Bible is inspired, it is indispensable. The writer of Ecclesiastes pointed out that “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). The Library of Congress contains single copies of 142 million books—but I’d trade them all in for just one copy of God’s Word. The Bible is the foundation of my personal life. It determines my morality, philosophy, and hope. It is the most popular and powerful book on earth and its influence is growing stronger every day. It outlives its critics while, at the same time, transforming the lives of all who receive its message.
We may not fully understand every single verse, but that’s only to be expected if our Book comes from an infinite mind. Yet all we really need to know is contained within its covers. The apostle Peter said, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Isaac Watts spent much of his time writing great hymns and textbooks. Somehow he balanced the tasks of pastoring a church and producing a massive volume of published works. He once revealed the secret of his vitality and productivity: “Abandon the secret chamber,” he warned, “and the spiritual life will decay.”
In other words, read, learn, memorize, and obey God’s Word every day. It is inspired by Him and therefore indispensable to us.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org