It’s World Book Day. I’m not sure if I feel sorry for mums and dads or not, having to dress your child up as a character from a book. It’s a nice idea but I bet it’s expensive.
I love reading and have read some great books over the years. If I was to draw up a list it would include Life of Pi, A Thousand Splendid Suns, the Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis’s sci-fi trilogy, What’s So Amazing About Grace, The Jesus I Never Knew, all four of Carlos Ruiz Safon’s books in the Shadow Of The Wind series, and Wolf Hall. They’re all books that I have enjoyed and been willing to return to.
However, there is one book above all others that’s my absolute favourite. It’s the only book I read every day, and the only one I’ve discovered to be life changing. It’s the Bible, a book most people wouldn’t dream of picking up. Despite it being the most widely printed book in the world, many homes in the U.K. won’t have a copy. You don’t know what you’re missing if you live in one of those homes.
The Bible isn’t one book of course. It’s a compilation of 66 books organised into two Testaments, a mix of history, poetry, wisdom and good old fashioned teaching. A number of people are designated as authors, but there is only one true author and that is God, who through his Holy Spirit led the writers to put his words to paper, or whatever they used as paper in those days. The Bible itself tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (1) I don’t want you thinking the writers were like zombies without any control of what they were writing, but the Holy Spirit gently led their thought processes to produce what God wanted us to read. Between them the inspired writers have produced 66 books, all in total agreement.
The Old Testament begins with the beginning of life and the creation of man, tells us about sin, God’s creation of a people for himself, the acceptable worship he originated, the idol worship that men introduced instead, men’s continual failures and God’s continual restoration. The New Testament transforms worship from a geographical experience restricted to the Jewish nation, and which must take place in Jerusalem, to a spiritual experience that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. The central figure in both Testaments, either directly or indirectly, is Jesus, God’s own Son. The Old Testament points forward to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, while most of the New Testament looks back to the cross of Jesus his life and words, building from there a pattern of worship and service for Christians everywhere to enjoy.
Anyone can read the Bible, and if you do so objectively it will change you. That’s my personal testimony of how I became a Christian. I can’t promise you it will be easy but if you persevere, and give God time to act, you will get there. You’ll begin to see how it all fits together, why the book of Exodus helps us understand what happened when Jesus died. You’ll see prophecies in the Old Testament that have since come true, so many it cannot be sheer coincidence. You’ll read the personal stories of men and women who lived by faith and what happened to them. You’ll read poetry expressing the writers’ anguish, joy and faith. You’ll see these were normal people whose lives were changed by God, and you’ll realise he can do that for you.
Above all, you’ll come to read about Jesus and discover he’s like no one else who’s ever lived. He’s perfect in every way. He’s wise, loving, compassionate, humble, truthful. He’s never committed a crime but he was executed as a criminal, despite his judge three times saying he was innocent. You’ll come to realise that the man called Jesus is also God, equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. You’ll see that he died because he loves you.
Pick up a Bible please, and start reading. You won’t regret it. If you don’t have a Bible get in touch with us and we’ll make sure you get one.
- 2 Timothy 3:16