John Wesley was said to be a man of one book. His “one book” was the Bible, of course. That doesn’t mean he read the Bible and it only. He was well read, well educated, and wrote a lot himself. What it does mean is that he lived by what he learned in Scripture. While he read other things, the Bible was his mainstay.
Today, we live in a world of books. As an author, I find it amazing how far up the charts my book sails when even one is purchased. That’s simply because there are millions of books on the market competing for everyone’s dollars. A few sales can propel a book up the scale, leapfrogging it over several million others.
Putting that aside, the reality is there are many books that each sells thousands of copies or more. These days, people buy paperbacks and hardcovers as they always did. On top of that, many (if not most) books are purchased in some digital form. Nooks, Kindles, iPods, and phones are used to buy and read books. You can carry around your entire library on your smartphone to read at any time. It’s amazing there are any bookstores left at all.
“The Bible is the book of life.”
With all these books vying for our time, it’s gratifying to know that the Bible is still the best seller of all time (by an incredible margin). Like Wesley, tons of people read voraciously. Still the one place they keep going back is the Bible—often on a daily basis.
The reason for this is pretty clear. The Bible is the book of life. It transforms our understanding, our perspective, and our way of living. In short, it transforms us. It’s alive with the truth of God, and it can’t be replaced by anything else we read.
“Writing about the Bible cannot replace the Bible itself.”
We can write books about the Bible (I’ve even done that myself). But writing about the Bible cannot replace the Bible itself. It can certainly be helpful. As a preacher, I read about the Bible all the time. I want to know what other people think, how they interpret it, and how they believe it relates to life in the twenty-first century. But even then, I find myself going back to Scripture each time to verify, confirm, or refute what I’ve just read.
Another great British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” There really is no substitute for it. Many of the most significant people of history were greatly influenced by this marvelous book. In turn, they have influenced millions themselves. There is no end to the reach “The Book” has had, and will have, on humanity.
The importance of this tome is not merely that it’s “the good book” as many have called it. It’s not the fact that it has many moral lessons or fascinating stories (although all that is true). It’s “the good book” because it points us to Jesus. So live in it. You’ll never be the same.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]