Christianity is notable for many reasons. Everything from its origins in ancient Judaism to the faith that sustains countless millions of adherents today bathe it in a particular and unique light. Paramount to the faith however are our Scriptures, the Holy Bible.
Powerful, meaningful, and able to withstand the fiercest attacks, the Bible has guided countless individuals to God, led myriad leaders to victory, and comforted the unnumbered persecuted to calmer waters. Even so, many people – believers and nonbelievers alike – do not realize what it is they have with the Bible. I can assure you, it did not simply appear in a bookstore one day! Poll a group of people on the question of “Where did the Bible Come From?” and the responses, you’ll find, are as diverse as those you ask. The truth of the matter though is one that will amaze you with its drama, intrigue, and adventure. Far from just another dusty old tome, there is infinitely more to the Bible than many realize.
What exactly then is the Bible? It’s not just a guide for the faithful, nor is it simply the record of ancient Middle Eastern goings-on. The Scriptures are not – as pop culture tends to advocate – a collection of stolen myth and legend, or a tool to be used in the herding and pacification of the masses. No. Without a doubt, there is more evidence for the authenticity of the Bible than any other literary work of antiquity, and every test has confirmed this fact. What is it then? What is this Bible of the Christians? On the surface, it is a detailed history of a nation into which was born a man who would change the world. It presents the origin of all things, a record of turmoil and global cataclysm, battles and conquest for power and dominance, chronologies of kings and leaders, and the coming of a kinsman redeemer.
That kinsman redeemer of course was none other than Jesus Christ. Even for those who do not count themselves as believers, who doubt the veracity of the Word of God, there can be no denying that the person of Christ is the critical hinge in humanity’s history. Look no further than the BC and AD demarcations of history: “Before Christ” and “Anno Domini (the Year of Our Lord)” respectively. His teachings changed a great deal of the world in which He lived,¹ His example running contrary to social norms of the day, demonstrating among other things that this life has meaning and value – each of us being made directly in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) – and that certain behaviors were inherently immoral, unnatural, and just wrong (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).
As one historian put it, Jesus’s teachings and the subsequent spread of Christianity “marks the beginning of a new era in world history, and, above all, in the history of the West.”² In light of it’s teachings and its call for charity, believers began instituting hospitals and orphanages, and providing care for the poor, hungry, and helpless.³ Even many classic universities and other centers of higher learning were built upon Christian principles and a pursuit of the knowledge of God’s laws and creation! Make no mistake: Christ changed history for believers and nonbelievers alike. None other than H. G. Wells summed it up in saying:
“I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”
— H. G. Wells
“The Word of God” continues next time…
- Schmidt, Alvin J., “How Christianity Changed the World,” Zondervan, 2004, pg 44)
- Dawson, Christopher, “Religion and the Rise of Western Culture,” New York, Doubleday, 1958, pp 27- 28
- Schmidt, pp 147-148
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