The Divine Library

 

The Divine Library is a compilation of thoughts from Bishop Stevenson and the thoughts of great men that have lived in the last few hundred years. He prays that these words will be an inspiration to your heart.

The Divine Library is the Word of God, and within its sacred writings are references to that fact. The Bible plainly teaches that its words are the inspired words of God. God has promised that He would preserve the text of the Bible, "So shall My Word be that goes out of My mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11.

Jesus said in John 10:35 "...the Scriptures can not be broken." One reason that the Bible cannot be changed over time is that God will judge every man by the words of the Bible.

It comes down to a matter of justice. How could God judge man according to a book that had been changed and corrupted by the time it was passed down to us in this century? Be confident when you read the Bible that it is God's "incorruptible" Word.

God could have sent down the Bible bound in black leather, with gilded edges, sewn with silk and with every word printed in indelible Indian ink, but instead, He chose to give it to us in a way that is so unique. That is one of the outstanding evidences of its supernatural origin.

The Bible contains thousands of wonderful promises that are applicable to all that believe. The challenge that faces mankind today is how to know, understand and experience the wonderful things that God promises to do for those who believe. God's promises in the Bible guarantee us more than enough for our needs in every area.

Concerning human knowledge, there are two fundamental sources: reason and experience. Even with a balanced understanding and a good grasp of life's perplexities, there are many crucial questions that can be raised.

Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Is there any purpose to human existence? Unless there is a third source of knowledge, there is no hope of finding answers to these basic issues of meaning and significance.

The Bible claims to provide this third source of knowledge. It is revelation, and the belief that God has revealed Himself and His ways to man in Holy Scripture.

This is the underlying self-evident truth of the Christian world view. In it we have direct access to a revelation from a personal Being who created all things and who is not subject to our limitations as fragile and finite creatures.

The Bible describes two forms of revelation. These are usually called general and special revelation. General revelation is available to all. According to scripture, God has revealed truths to us about "His invisible attributes as well as His eternal power and Godhead" through His creation.

In addition to the external revelation of nature, He has also implanted the knowledge of His existence in every human heart, although many have chosen to suppress this truth in unrighteousness.

God's special revelation involves His more direct means of communicating to some people in a variety of ways. This includes dreams and visions, angels and adversity just to mention a few, but most clearly in the person of Christ as revealed in the pages of Scripture.

The sovereign Lord of History is intimately involved in the affairs of mankind. The God of the Bible is both the Creator and the Redeemer, and the cross is portrayed as the central event in history.

The Old Testament anticipates the work of Messiah in many ways, and the New Testament points back to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith. He says, "I Am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, The Almighty". Revelation 1:8

God chose to reveal Himself in a progressive way and His written Word gradually unfolded more and more truth about His person and work. Christ claimed to be the key to the Scriptures, the one of whom the entire Old Testament spoke.

It has been said that the New Testament is in the Old Testament contained and the Old Testament is by the New Testament explained. Thank God that He has not left us alone, but He has given us His Spirit and His Word, the Holy Bible.

The Holy Bible, also known as, The Book, by way of its excellence; is without contradiction the best book that was ever written, the book of books, shining like the sun in the firmament of learning; leaving other valuable and useful books, like the moon and stars borrowing their light from it.

We call it the Holy Book, because it was written by holy men of God, composed by the Holy Spirit; perfectly pure from all falsehood and corrupt intentions; and the unmistakable course of it would be to promote holiness among men and women.

Educed to a greater certainty, might spread further, remain longer and be transmitted to distant places and ages more pure and entire than they possibly could have been by report and tradition.

The Holy Bible has been called divine writings, Scriptures, the God inspired Scriptures, the Oracles of God, the Law of the Lord, the Word of God and the Word of Christ, just to mention a few. It is a Divine library, reaching every verity of human record.

The Bible is God's truth, and that truth is given on several levels. The foundation is historic truth, the record of facts and words that involve real people and real events.

From these facts we learn doctrinal truth concerning God, man, sin, salvation and a host of other subjects. Of course the end result must be practical truth for we get God's blessing by doing His Word and not simply by learning. Learning must lead to living.

The Bible was written for the heart as well as for the mind and will, which is where devotional truth comes in. When we allow the scripture to speak to us personally, we are being taught by the Spirit of God.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the famous British preacher said, "No scripture is of private interpretation: no text has spent itself upon the person who received it. God's comforts are like wells, which no man or set of men can drain dry, however mightily may their thirst."

The Bible as a whole may be considered a great panorama, yet without the defects of a panorama; for as great as it is, it has but one point of site from beginning to end , as a long panorama cannot have. Christ is the Alpha and Omega: the all and all.

The history of the inspiration of the written Word is parallel to that of the incarnation of the Word in the person of Christ. In both there is the meeting of the Divine through the human; in both there is the shining out of the Divine through the human; in both there is such an outward display of the human and the presence of the Divine.

The Bible establishes a continuous commentary on God's providential government. It shows us by countless examples how to interpret those lessons which the changing events of life, joys and sorrows, temptations and trials, are calculated to teach us.

There is hardly an event, hardly a character that does not have its parallel in that great picture of historic and biographic sketches, which the Scripture does not open to us.

The examples range through ever rank of social life, every imaginative character, and illustrate by similar cases almost every conceivable combination of circumstances in which man can be placed.

It is hardly possible to imagine ourselves in any situation in which the Bible will not furnish us a guideline either for our warning, consolation or instruction.

For hundreds of years scribes copied and re-copied manuscripts, laboriously counting the number of letters in each line, then on each page, and also in each book, checking to make sure that nothing had been changed.

Minor changes did creep into various copies, but these were studied and a standard Hebrew text called the Masoretic text, was developed about 100 years after Christ.

As Christianity grew so did the number of Bible translations. Most Bibles were too expensive for common people because it took months of work to copy them. In the 1300's a Bible could easily cost a priest a years salary.

John Wycliffe published the first complete English in 1382. In the 15thcentury things change dramatically. The Bible was now being printed with movable type. By the end of the century printers were busy in more than 250 European towns, publishing a wide variety of Bible additions.

Surprisingly, church leaders resisted the notion of translating God's Word into everyday language. The prevailing opinion was that people should get their teaching form ministers, not the Bible.

This was because it was thought that most people were not capable of traveling through God's Word without a spiritual guide. Oxford scholar John Wycliffe, in his time, became view as a heretic for creating the first English Bible - which was banned in England.

He died before anyone could kill him, but 43 years later church leaders dug up his remains, burned them and threw the ashes into a river. William L. Tyndale produced an improved English translation in the early 1500's. For this, he was publicly strangled with a rope and his body burned.

His dying words were, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes." Within two years the King ordered the English Bible to be placed in every church.

The most famous English Bible of all times is the classic King James Version, known in England as the Authorized Version. It remained the principle Bible of English speaking Protestants for some 300 years.

The translation was presented to King James of England, who had commissioned 54 of England's foremost scholars to produce it. Working at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, they completed the task in about seven years.

The Bible is a book you can understand. The Bible is also a book you can experience. This too sets the Bible apart from all other literature. We need to be very clear about this. God didn't share His Word with us simply to give us information.

He didn't even reveal His thoughts so we could believe correctly. God gave us His Word to bring us into a transforming  relationship with Him. We can read the Bible intelligently and carefully and understand what it has to say to us.

The Bible is a relational book. The Word of God records God's mighty acts as He intervened in the world. He shows us who He is and tells us of His ways. The scriptures go beyond just reporting events: they explain in words the intentions and the purposes, the emotions and concerns, which moved God to His acts. The Bible shows us God in action, then reveals His very thoughts and intentions.

So the message of Scripture involves communication of truth about God and the revelation of God Himself as a person. God has made a personal universe and He has placed us as persons in it. We have been made the objects of His love and the center of His purposes.

The Bible brings us into company with the greatest men the world has ever known; gives us faithful biographies of such men as Moses, David, Solomon, Daniel, Jesus, Paul and John.

It did not stop there. Its following history cannot be traced apart from the names of Wycliffe. Tyndale and Luther - men who have baptized it with tears, preserved it with their prayers and in many instances sealed it with their blood.

The Bible's history runs parallel, too, with a history of the most learned, most mighty, and most polished nations antiquity; the greatest thinkers and men of all ages have openly confessed their faith in Christianity and the Bible.

The wise men of the world, who have been best qualified to detect error and imposture, have laid at the feet of Christ their homage, and confessed that the Bible is the Word of God.

There are volumes of testimonies of the greatest men since Christ outside the clerical profession. who have left witness of their unwavering faith in the Bible as the Word of God and in Christ as the Son of God.

These men have been kings, presidents, senators, congressmen, diplomats, philosophers, scientists, poets, authors, historians, artists, philanthropists, reformers, educators, lawyers, physicians, soldiers, journalists, financiers, governors, leaders of great movement's and men acknowledged to be representative of the old and new world.

Daniel Webster said, "The Bible is the Book of faith, and a Book of doctrine, and a Book of morals, and a Book of religion, of special revelation from God; but it is also a Book which teaches man his responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man."

George Washington said, "Above all, the pure light of revelation has had an influence on mankind, and increased the blessings of society. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

Abraham Lincoln said, "I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book, which God has given to man."

David said, "The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple"-Psalm 19:7.

The Psalmist records, " Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path"- Psalm 119:105.

Solomon said, "My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body"- Proverbs 4:20-22.

Jesus said, ".....the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" - John 6:63.

The Bible has always had its critics; like the 18th century humanist, Thomas Paine. He said, "The Bible was more likely the work of a demon than the Word of God."

Voltaire, while on his deathbed in 1778, was asked by a priest to renounce Satan and his reply was, "now, my good man, This is no time to be making enemies."

Voltaire, over 250 years ago, held a copy of the Bible in his hand and said, "In 100 years this book will be forgotten, eliminated." One hundred years later, Voltaire was dead and buried and his house was made the headquarters of the Geneva Bible society, and they were distributing Bible's out of his house!

The Bible is an exciting book. It is not simply a book of history or doctrine. Nor is it just a guide to moral living. The Holy Scriptures rightly divided is a love letter and message from God to the entire human race as well as  to each individual.

Through the Scriptures, God speaks with a very personal voice, opening to our mind the wealth of information  you and I need to understand to develop a personal relationship with the Lord. Then through the illumination of God' Word by the Holy Spirit as well as our willingness and desire to hear the voice of God, we deepen that relationship.

In the Scriptures, God's voice speaks to us with encouragement, comfort, guidance, instruction and yes, at times with correction and rebuke. For every experience in life, God has a personal word in His Word for you and me.

The Scriptures declare in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The Bible presents a clear definable model of origins. It addresses the age of the earth through its historical narrative. The biblical narrative is scientifically vindicated. The Bible is true, absolutely reliable and trustworthy. The Christian may have confidence in a biblical worldview as a legitimate and effective basis for every principle.

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are Holy, its precepts are binding,its histories are true and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be Holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.

The Bible is the travelers map, the Pilgrim's staff, the pilots compass, the soldiers sword and the Christians character, Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is the grand subject, our good the design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.

It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure. It involves the highest responsibility; will reward the greatest labor and will condemn all that trifle its sacred contents.

The Bible is a collection of writings that were written by men of God as they were breathed upon by the Holy Spirit. There are 66 books. They were written by 40 different persons over a span of 1500 years.

The writers were fisherman and farmers, political leaders and kings. A few were highly educated; one was a medical doctor. Three different languages were used in writing: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

The 66 books are essentially 1 book, and it tells a unified story of the salvation of man, the demise of all opposition to God, the plan of the ages and the future of the world.

The Bible is God's inspired revelation of the origin and destiny of all things. Everything about the Bible is supernatural and in spite of all the destructive criticism fashioned to weaken it's authority, it remains an ever-present miracle.

And who but God could have conceived and caused men to compose such a book? Biblical inspiration embraces not only the subject matter, but also the very words in which it is expressed, down to the minutest detail, so that as originally written the Bible is wholly inspired. The Divine inspiration of Scripture is the unvarying conviction of every Christian.

Archeology has proved to be an invaluable aid in confirming Bible records. Excavations carried on in all bible lands by the pic and spade of the archaeologists have proved many of the deductions of the higher critics to be false and the Bible to be true.

A host of eminent scholars over the year have humbly confessed their changed attitude toward the criticism of the Bible as a result of the archaeological discoveries.

Countless volumes could be filled concerning the divine preservation of the Bible through the centuries. Nothing man or Devil has done has been sufficient to destroy "The Word of the Lord, which endures forever."

It has been publicly burnt. It has carried the death penalty for its possession, but all efforts to exterminate it have failed. The Christian therefore can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds the revealed Word of God handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.

Supernatural in its preparation and preservation, it is likewise supernatural in its power. No other book has influenced men and nations like the Bible. Miraculous in its workings, it produces miracles in the hearts and lives of those who believe it.

Modern thinking may try to weaken the Bible's power and authority, but it continues its triumphant ministry in the world of needs. "The Word of God is still living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing the soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12.

The Bible is still the world's best seller, even though it is thousands of years old. Even in this highly scientific age of ours, when multitudes of books, both good and bad, are pouring out of the presses, the Bible outstrips all in its circulation.

It has been translated into well over 1200 languages with a yearly production of over 30 million copies. It is distributed over land, sea and air. It is proclaimed by men and women that follow Christ and is published on paper, produced over radio, on television, by audio and video tapes.

It is smuggled into forbidden countries and taken into the four corners of the earth. It goes everywhere, into the snow igloos of the Eskimos. the bamboo huts of the tropics, the skin tents of the Bedouins, and the boathouses of the Chinese river people. To this we say, thanks be to God for His Divine Library.

 

                                                  Bishop Greg Stevenson

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