The proliferation of good Bible translations is an enormous blessing. The unprecedented level of access to God’s Word that we enjoy was only made possible through the heroic Reformers 500 years ago. They bravely warred against the Roman Catholic determination to keep Scripture bound in the obscurity of Latin.
Unfortunately, the tremendous access to God’s Word today has also bred a dangerous complacency. Bibles now occupy ornamental places in our homes. We would consider it foolish to find a treasure chest and never open it to see what’s inside. Yet in reality, that’s what happens when a Bible is relegated to decorative use.
I once read an illustration that described the Bible as a magnificent palace constructed of precious stone, comprising sixty-six stately chambers. Each one of these rooms is different from the others and perfect in its individual beauty. Yet, when viewed as a whole, they form an incomparable edifice that is majestic, glorious, and sublime.
In the book of Genesis, we enter the vestibule and are immediately introduced to the records of God’s mighty works in creation. This foyer gives access to the law courts, the passage way to the picture gallery of the historical books. Here we find hung on the walls scenes of battles, heroic deeds, and portraits of valiant men of God.
Beyond the picture gallery we find the philosopher’s chamber (the book of Job), which leads us into the music room (the book of Psalms). Here we linger, thrilled by the grandest harmonies that ever fell on human ears. And then we come to the business office, in the very center of which stands the motto: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). From the business office, we pass into the research department (Ecclesiastes) before continuing into the conservatory (Song of Solomon), where the fragrant aroma of love greets us. Then, we reach the observatory where the prophets with their powerful telescopes are looking for the appearing of the Bright and Morning Star.
Crossing the courtyard at the dawning of the Son of righteousness, we come to the audience chamber of the King (the gospels), where we find four lifelike portraits of the King Himself revealing the perfections of His infinite beauty. Next, we enter the workroom of the Holy Spirit (the book of Acts) and, beyond, the correspondence room where we see Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude busy at their tables under the personal direction of the Spirit of Truth.
And finally, we enter the throne room (Revelation) where we are enraptured by the mighty volume of adoration and praise addressed to the enthroned King. In the adjacent judgment hall, there are portrayed solemn scenes of doom and wondrous scenes of glory associated with the coming manifestation of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Oh, the majesty of this Book. From creation to culmination, how it compels us to be diligent in our study!
How tragic it is when we seal up such a glorious structure behind its leather bindings. More than a century ago Charles Spurgeon would say: “There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers.”
Scripture contains the words of eternal life and a failure to ingest and embrace those truths has damning consequences. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through the Bible. What greater act of worship could there be than pursuing deeper knowledge of Him through the study of His Word?
The onus is on us as believers to embrace that exhortation. In the coming days I’ll explain some key strategies in reading, interpreting, and meditating on God’s Word. Stay tuned!