Best-Selling Book of All Time

by Nancy Petrey

 
[ene_ptp]The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. But it is rare in some parts of the world where it is such a coveted possession that people will risk their lives to have one. In China, believers often share one copy of the Bible. Each person receives a page, and when they have memorized it, they get back together to exchange their portion of the Bible. (http://www.watersourceministries.com/bible-smuggling/) Many Christians in this country have several copies of the Bible, and yet few even read it, much less take it to heart.
I love the Bible. It has been the guide for my life ever since I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I have not understood it perfectly, but the Holy Spirit has been given to me to teach me, as Jesus promised. Seeming contradictions have sometimes cleared up, but even when parts of Scripture are puzzling, I trust that it is still God’s Word, and I will eventually understand it either here or when I see Him face to face.
The assault on the authority of the Bible is troubling to me, because without this “anchor” for the soul, we will drift into dangerous waters and be destroyed. Jesus’ words are a gracious invitation from a gentle Shepherd to follow His way and His words: “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). And the Apostle John instructs his “little children” thus: “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). Remember that Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
Many Christians declare that we are not under the law, we are under grace. But God has made a way for us to keep His commandments: “… the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the SPIRIT” (Rom. 8:4). Remember that Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them. Heaven and earth will pass away, but one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-18).
How important is the WRITTEN Word of God? When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, he said, “It is WRITTEN, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). Jesus was quoting from the law in the Old Testament—Deuteronomy 8:3. To apply these words of Jesus to the current debate about legalizing sodomy is irrefutable —“It is an abomination” (Lev. 18:22 and 20:13). To God it is so serious, it incurred the death penalty, as did any form of sexual sin!
Before I myself get stoned, I will point out that Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, a sin punishable by stoning, that He did not condemn her! But He ALSO SAID, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus didn’t make light of her sin, but He forgave her. He knew He would soon be dying a tortuous death on the cross so that He could be her sin substitute and take the death penalty for her. “God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). That is the GOOD NEWS He has commissioned all Christians to go and tell! But if a person will not admit what he is doing is sin and ask for forgiveness, how can he be pardoned? He can’t.
One last point. The history of how we have the Bible today is a story filled with great sacrifice and death. For instance, John Wycliffe opposed the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. He translated the Latin Vulgate into English in the 1380s. The Pope was infuriated, and 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug up, crushed, and scattered in the river! John Hus, one of Wycliffe’s followers, was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire! His last words were a prophecy that God would raise up a man in 100 years “whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” It happened when Martin Luther in 1517 nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention against the Roman Catholic Church on the church door. Luther translated the Bible into German.
William Tyndale translated the Bible into English “illegally,” while he was in hiding. He was arrested, tried, and convicted, then strangled and burned at the stake in the prison yard, Oct. 6, 1536. His last words were, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.” This prayer was answered three years later when King Henry VIII published the English “Great Bible” in 1539.
In order to shorten this lengthy post, I will quote what I found online as a good answer to the question, “Is the Bible still the best-selling book in the world?” The best answer on www.answers.yahoo.com is: “Still the best-selling book of all time…. People are literally dying for it. People in countries where the book is banned, where getting one in, or taking one in, could get you killed, and people are literally risking life to get them the book anyways. Funny, I don’t see anyone willing to die for a lie. The faith flourishes where persecuted, so by all means, let the atheist taunt and jeer, it helps get rid of the chaff.”

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13 Responses

  • Nancy Petrey is a great Woman of God. She believes in God’s word passionately, she knows the WORD, she is passionate and most importantly the LORD KNOWS HER & holds her in His right hand. I don’t know many people who have the intellect and presence of mind to understand scripture as Nancy does. She never ceases to AMAZE me and she LOVES the JEWISH people and ISRAEL! God has given her great insight and I read with enthusiasm every word she writes. I don’t always agree with EVERYTHING, but I ALWAYS KNOW she has given great thought to what she says and writes! Oh, did I mention she is an extremely talented pianist, actress and fun friend.

  • Nancy, thank you for a powerful article on the Word of God! May we continue to honor and love His Word as never before. We don’t know when we may no longer have it. May we continue to hide it in our hearts so that it will always be a part of us.

  • As one with whom you disagree about many things, I would want to underscore that the Bible is my authority, even as it is yours. That’s not the issue. The issue is we disagree about how to understand it. If all of us would keep this distinction in mind, we would find ourselves less on opposite sides, and closer than we might otherwise believe.
    As an example, you believe that Genesis teaches a literal six days of creation. I don’t. We disagree about an interpretation, not about the authority of the Bible. God is creator in both understandings. I hardly feel this qualifies as an “assault on the authority of the Bible.” We might be assaulting one another’s view, but not the authority of the Bible.

    • I appreciate and share your approach here, Steve. Thank you for a balanced response deeply respectful of a person who looks at this issue from a different angle..

    • Yes, I agree, that is exactly what is at stake here–the interpretation. And two opposing views cannot both be right. The thing is, if the account of the six-days for creation was not in six literal days, then Genesis 20:11 is not six literal days either. And so, the Sabbath could be any number of days, not just the seventh day of each week. And, if the Genesis account is not to be plainly read, is the alternative to believe that God allowed everything, including man, to evolve over millions of years, during which time both animals and man died? Then what meaneth Romans 6:23 when it says, “The wages of sin is death” if death occurred before Adam was ‘created’ and sinned? How could death then be a penalty for sin if death was occurring already? And the whole chapter of Romans 5 would need to be rewritten or thrown out because it just wouldn’t make sense in that scenario. And why do folks have such a hard time believing that God couldn’t have done it exactly the way it is written? He could have created everything in an instant, if God be God at all!
      We may both be SAYING that we believe in the same God and the same Authority, but, if so, the interpretations should agree as well. We can agree to disagree here on earth, but I pray for both our sakes that before we reach God’s throne, we seek diligently to be sure of the interpretation that the Author had in mind. The truth can only have one right interpretation.

      • I’m thinking here that there may be things we disagree on right up until we see face to face. We now know partially (1 Cor. 13:12). I’d then go on to 1 Corinthians 8:2 – if anyone thinks he knows something, he doesn’t yet know it as he ought to. Not to mention Paul’s gracious approach in Romans 14. So perhaps we can disagree on some things and nonetheless have unity. Perhaps we can even disagree about disagreeing! 🙂

  • So very well stated! It is no mystery to those of us who know God, why He provided and preserved for us this great book, it is truly HisStory! It is no mystery why, then, that on the one hand, it is treasured and sought after, while on the other hand, it is reviled and hated. For it is the only book that truly “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12 NAS]. God provided the book for us to reveal Himself and His Glory. For those who do not want their inner thoughts and being known, they will not like this book. And for those who do not want to abide by the truths of this book, they will hate it and seek to destroy it, or at the very least seek to minimize, discredit, and edit it to suit themselves.
    And for those who SAY they believe in God and reverence His Son, Jesus, YET want to cut out from the Bible those sections they don’t find palatable for their more ‘modern’ senses, may they consider Jesus’s own words referring to these same scriptures: “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures…” [Luke 24:44-45]
    Two important things are to be understood by these words of Jesus. One is that Jesus considered all of the Old Testament valid–for the writings of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms encompass the whole of it–from Genesis to Malachi (or Genesis to Zachariah if you have a Jewish bible—same books, just different order). And, second, that Jesus Himself and the words He spoke and commissioned to His apostles in the New Testament must be the guide to understanding them as He is the one to truly ‘open’ a person’s eyes to their understanding. So this encompasses Matthew to Revelation.
    As Paul remindedTimothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16-17] But, yet, so many want to destroy it, deny it, discredit it, ignore it—while others die to obtain just portions of it.
    Thank you, Nancy, for showing us the love, truth, warning, and yet the greatest compassion that could ever be found—all in the Bible—that makes it truly the greatest book ever written. A book truly written in red.

    • Jan, that is a great description of the Bible, “A book truly written in red.” Wow! Thanks. Not only the blood of Jesus but the blood of those who translated it, who have smuggled it into anti-Christian countries, and to those who dared to possess one illegally. In addition to that, all the heroes of the faith (known and unknown) down through the centuries who were killed for living by its words. Lord, make me worthy of having not only a Bible at my disposal, but several different Bibles. Help me to live by its words and be a faithful witness for Jesus Christ who is the subject of the entire book. Amen!

  • Nancy Petrey is a gifted writer. This well-written article, based on the Word of God speaks clearly. Thank you, Nancy, for reminding me of the sacrifices made so that I can literally hold the Holy Word of God in my hands and rely upon its solid truth.

  • Great article. I’m so thankful for all the people who sacrificed to bring me the Good News of God’s Word. His Truth continues to march on!

  • Thank you,Nancy,for that insightful discussion on the word of God. I too believe The Bible is the word of God and is infallible. In fact God says in Hebrews that He holds everything together by His Word – that’s power!

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