The Unknown Book

By Dr. William Blythe Robinson

If someone were to ask you what you thought was the most unknown book in the world, what would be your answer? What if someone told you that the most unknown book in the world was publicly recognized by one of the world’s greatest literary scholars (Mortimer J. Adler) as one of the greatest books in all of human history and is still the number one best seller in the world? It’s possible that people may know its name but have no actual first-hand knowledge of its contents. That book is the Bible, yet few know that it is God’s Divine Library of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

Here are some facts: the Bible is miraculous in its origin from divine inspiration; it is the voice of God Incarnate. Its harmonious parts were written over a period of 1600 years, with about 40 different authors from different parts of the world with different languages. Yet, the Bible remains one book: one history, one story – His story. Its durability transcends the centuries of attacks upon it. Its transforming power for good over the lives of all who accept it, continues. Few realize that it is the most expensive book in the world. It has cost the lives of untold thousands who gave their lives through the ages to preserve it and pass it on unchanged to you.

I had never read the Bible when I was in school. That changed, however, when I was drawn to a very attractive Catholic girl. I thought I knew enough about the Bible to start a conversation with her because I had attended a few Bible-believing churches. However, I soon found myself disagreeing with her when she said that her church was the “only true church.” With great confidence I set out to prove that the Bible said, “Go to the church of your choice.”

I started reading Matthew and completed the New Testament never finding the verse I had so confidently proclaimed to be true. This was a life altering experience for me.

First, I made the profound discovery that all the issues that I had been arguing about and that seemed so important did not even exist in the pages of the New Testament.

The second unbelievable discovery was that New Testament Christianity was so totally different from today’s organized religion. Out of my experience came one unshaken conviction: the best-known book in the world was in reality an unknown book. This was a fact that I had never even considered until I had read it for myself. An attractive girl had attracted me to this unknown book. Now I love both the book and its author. Since then I have continued to learn its transforming story.

The third thing that I learned was that you can prove most anything by the Bible if you don’t truly know its contents for yourself.

The fourth thing I learned was that the Bible is all around us, often hidden away and unused, such as the Gideon Bibles that are tucked away, out of sight, in motel rooms. Today, the Bible is unknown in our society at large and in our schools and some of our churches in particular. Hosea 4:6 warns, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

The fifth thing that I learned was that the contents of those 66 books will judge all mankind someday as it says in Revelation 20:12: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened…and the dead were judged out of…the books according to their works.” Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The standard of judgment is found in John 12:48: “He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that will judge him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Revelation 20:15 is simply horrifying.

Today the Bible’s voice is but a faint echo in the halls of America’s history. Having been labeled “politically incorrect,” its message and prayers are banned in public schools. Yet our Presidents are sworn in on it in public in His name. In connection with this, it’s rarely known that in 1892 the Supreme Court declared America to be a “Christian nation” and this has never been rescinded. Why is the Bible, today, treated like an enemy that we must defy? What harm can its loving message inflict upon our children? What damage has it done to generations who were, in generations past, raised upon its teachings, both in our homes and in our schools, on television and in the older movies? What manner of life or course of conduct does it inspire that would not be desirable? Why have we turned our backs upon this book and left it alone to die? What qualities does it have to make it deserve ignoring? Why have churches turned from the Bible to creeds and theology? Why do so few carry it to church? Why have the ones who say it is God’s book denied its basic truth by their lives? Why are there so many ministers preaching sermons that leave us empty in our heads and hearts regarding the greatest book in the world? Regardless of how we got to where we are today, the Bible in America remains an unknown book to the multitudes.

About a week before his death, Sir Walter Scott said to his son-in-law, Lockhart, “Read to me from the Book.” And when Lockhart asked him from what book, Scott said, “Need you ask? There is but one.”

Long before his death Scott acknowledged the following:

  1. The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, doom of sinners, and happiness of believers.
  2. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.
  3. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
  4. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter.
  5. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.
  6. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disposed.
  7. Christ is its Grand Subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
  8. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.
  9. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully.
  10. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.
  11. It is given you in life, will be opened in Judgment and be remembered forever.
  12. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents.

How Would Your Neighbors Describe You?

By BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

For our family devotions, we have been dealing with the issue of love. One of the Bible passages that we looked at was from John, chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, predicts His betrayal by Judas, then gives His disciples the following command:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35).

As we talked about this verse, I asked my kids to describe for me the people who live in our neighborhood. They talked about some neighbors who were not friendly, other neighbors who always complained or caused problems, and others who would do anything to help you out. In response to their descriptions of our neighbors, I then asked them how they thought our neighbors would describe us. Specifically, would they describe us as a family who showed love?

I explained to my children that we should not be surprised to find differences in how we lived from the way many of our neighbors lived. In fact, we should not be surprised to find some neighbors who may not even like us because of our Christian faith (John 15:18-21). However, despite this reality, I told them that we should never have anyone in our neighborhood describe us as a family who did not live out a love for God and for others (1 Peter 2:11, 12).

So how would your neighbors, coworkers, etc. describe you? Would they describe you as a person (or family) who lives out God’s command to love one another? In a time when our world is full of hatred, violence, and discord, let all of us be reflections of Christ-like love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:7-11).

Rooted in Christ through Scripture and Prayer

by Bill Rudge

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Artwork by John Torma

Summer is a great time to devote extra time to prayer and Scripture. Relaxing on the beach, working in the garden or reclining in a hammock are great opportunities to ponder the wonders of God’s creation and His marvelous works or to meditate on His Word and pray. Listen to the Bible while walking or exercising. Fill your home with praise music, watch some family movies or videos on biblical heroes and real life missionaries. Focus study time on a specific book of the Bible or biblical theme such as end time prophecy. Keep yourself and your family rooted in Christ this summer!

“As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…” (Colossians 2:6-7).

How Could Jesus Speak to Large Audiences?

by Bill Rudge

Scripture indicates that Jesus spoke to large audiences (thousands of people) by the Sea of Galilee. Skeptics said it would be impossible for Him to speak to thousands of people without amplification equipment.

However, I was in Israel at the site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The hill forms a natural amphitheater that slopes to the Sea of Galilee and amplifies the speaker’s voice. The air above the Sea of Galilee is very static so that sound waves travel easily. It’s possible Jesus stood at the bottom of the hill and spoke to the crowd who sat above Him.

Matthew 4:25-5:2 gives the following account:

Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed Him. Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them ….

While standing on the site of the Sermon on the Mount, I was talking in my normal voice to one of the pastors in our group who was almost 100 yards away, and he could hear me plainly. Then, while standing on the shore, we became very quiet and, although several hundred yards away, we could hear two fishermen talking to each other on a small boat.

Once again the Bible is authenticated and skeptics are silenced.

Are You Really A Christian?

Dr. BJ Rudge

Can you answer the question: How do you know you are really saved? Many people base their assurance of salvation on reciting the sinner’s prayer or on an emotional response to an altar call. Others believe they are saved by attempting to be a “good” person and live a “good” life. Still others think salvation is simply an intellectual acknowledgement of beliefs in God, Jesus, and the Bible.

These views of salvation leave many people believing they are on their way to heaven. However, Jesus clearly warns that many will stand before Him claiming to be saved and He will say the following, “I never knew you; depart from Me …” (Matthew 7:23). So in light of this sobering verse, it is crucial that you can answer the question, “Do you know you are really saved?”

The apostle John provides the answer to this question in his first epistle, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Consider the following signs that John sets forth to know you have eternal life.

1.  Admit you are a sinner (1 John 1:8-9).

2.  Acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God (1 John 2:22-23; 4:15).

3.  Live a life of obedience and keep God’s commandments (1 John 1:6-7; 2:3-6, 29; 3:7-10; 5:2).

4.  Display love to others (1 John 2:9-11; 3:10, 15, 17-19; 4:7-9).

5.  Possess the hope and longing for Jesus’ return (1 John 3:2-3).

6.  Love other believers and enjoy having fellowship with them (1 John 5:1).

7.  Persevere in the faith (1 John 2:24).

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see whether or not they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Have you examined your life? Study these and other related scriptures to be certain you have eternal life and will inherit all God has planned for those who love and obey Him.