by Bruce W. Durbin
"And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." Ecclesiastes 12:12
In the darkness of night, when the stars and moon are hidden behind clouds, there is often the tendency to forget that the night will soon fade, and the sun will arise and chase the darkness away.
While there may be few things that people across the world would be in agreement, there is the consensus that if you can outlast the darkness, then the sun will rise. Who made the sun? Who made the darkness? As Genesis 1:16 relates:
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."
Since God's creation of day and night, the sun has risen and the sun has set.
When we are confronted with the darkness of troubles, sorrows, and pain in this life, we can be assured that the resurrection of God's only begotten Son gives us the hope that Heaven awaits those who are God's children. In a darkened world, who gives us hope? As John 3:16 encourages:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Do you want to learn to play chess? There are books that provide instruction on the basics of learning to play chess. Do you want to craft a canoe? There are books that provide detailed diagrams and specifications for turning a block of wood into a canoe. Some read books to be amused. Some read books to broaden their understanding of a specific subject. Some read books to be entertained. Some read books to "become" better people. Whatever one desires to read, there is most likely a book to fill that desire.
When you pick up the Holy Bible, what is your burning desire?
With each generation of man, there are those who rise and proclaim that they alone hold the answers to understanding the essential attributes of God, with these answers being detailed in volumes of written manuscripts. Subsequent generations herald certain books as classics; representing the absolute authority on religious thought.
In the area of Christianity, there are books that present step-by-step instructions on living a Christian life. There are books that provide humorous insights in living a Christian life. There are books that can teach you to read the entirety of the Holy Bible in the span of a year. As generations pass, there becomes a surplus of books regarding Christian thought and living. As a person approaches the "Religion" section of a bookstore and wanders down the aisles, looking at these numerous books, what single book stands out as a comprehensive compilation of Christian living?
As Ecclesiastes 12:12 aptly states:
"And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh."
There is really only one book from which one can learn about God and the fundamentals of living a Christian life, with this book being the inspired word of God, the Holy Bible.
Is reading the Holy Bible enough?
In the Leviathan (first published in 1651), T. Hobbes cautions readers:
"And in wrong, or no Definitions, lyes the first abuse; from which proceed all false and senslesse Tenets; which make those men that take their instruction from the authority of books, and not from their own meditation, to be as much below the condition of ignorant men....For the errours of Definitions multiply themselves according as the reckoning proceeds; and lead men into absurdities."
There is a common sermon wherein it is detailed that a man decided to study the Holy Bible, in order to discover God's will for his life. The man concluded that as the Holy Bible was the inspired word of God, that he would merely let God choose what scriptures would lead the man's life. The man took his Holy Bible and let it drop to the table, with the Holy Bible falling open. The man then closed his eyes, circled his finger around the top of the Holy Bible, and then let his finger fall, pointing to a specific scripture. The man opened his eyes and read:
"And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." (Matthew 27:5)
In contemplation of the exact meaning of the above scripture, the man repeated the ceremony of letting the Holy Bible fall open, closed his eyes, circled his finger, pointed to a scripture, opened his eyes, and then read the following:
"Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:37)
Taking authority from the words printed on the above pages, the most logical conclusion would be for the man to hang himself. The example highlights that reading the Holy Bible is not enough, it is necessary to hear the message of God.
As God has breathed life into every person, He has also enabled each person with the ability to feel the moving of His Holy Spirit. It is through the study of the Holy Bible and prayer, that a person realizes the goodness of God and the truth of the scriptures on his own, as opposed to reading the Holy Bible as one would read a sports magazine; something to provide
entertainment. As Ecclesiastes 12:13 concludes:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
A sinner that dies holding the Holy Bible tightly to his chest won't be spared the heat of Hell. Likewise, merely being able to recite the words of the Holy Bible won't save your soul. To save your soul requires acting upon the message contained within the Holy Bible.
Until one finds salvation, the Holy Bible is just a book.
Bruce W. Durbin is a freelance writer, whose articles have featured on many Christian online publications. He is also the author of Almost Heaven and Almost Hell (www.iuniverse.com and