In Psalm 119, verse 129, we read: “Thy testimonies are wonderful.” So the Word of God testifies to its own wonders. This world has seen many wonderful books, judging from human standards; but we want to write about the most wonderful Book which has ever been written or ever will be written. Some books may be wonderful in one or two respects, but one of the unchallenged wonders of the Bible is the very multitude of its wonders.
The Wonder of Its Divine Origin
The Bible is unique in this. No other book can successfully dispute its claim. They are the words of man, it is the Word of God, for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). All other books are as imperfect as their authors, but the Bible is as perfect as its Author — the infinite God. In making this statement, we do not lose sight of the fact that God used human penmen to transcribe His message.
The distinctive personalities of these men are preserved in their writings to the extent that the authors of many of the books of the Bible may be identified by their literary style. Paul is as different from Peter as Luke is from Isaiah. Job is no more like James than Moses is like Malachi. In walking down the street in dry weather, one may see a dozen different kinds of lawn sprinklers. Some send out a fan-shaped spray, some a circle of jets, still others, spiral streams. But, while each has its distinctive methods of expelling the water, all are fed from the same reservoir. It is the same water from each and produces the same results. The application is too obvious to require comment.
When Columbus discovered the Orinoco River, one of his crew suggested that they had found an island which was being drained by the river. The great explorer replied: “No such river as that flows from an island. That mighty torrent must drain a continent.” So any candid reader must recognize that the Book of books must have had its source in the heights of heavenly wisdom and that it draws its volume and impetus from the unseen continent of divine omniscience.
Some mighty minds of earth, though not ready to grant the divine origin of the Bible, do admit that it exceeds, in depth and scope, the writings of men. The great German poet, Heine, was one such. Though an avowed skeptic, yet after a day spent in reading the Bible, he exclaimed: “What a book! Wide and vast as the world, rooted in the abysses of creation, and towering up behind the blue secrets of heaven; sunshine and sunset, promise and fulfillment, birth and death — the whole drama of humanity is all in this book. Its eclipse would be the return of chaos; its extinction would be the epitaph of history.” What a pity that the poor poet could not see that it was wider and more vast than the world. Not only did it tower behind the blue secrets of heaven, but the secrets of heaven are revealed to men in its pages; and its extinction would be not only the epitaph of history, but of eternal hope as well.
The Wonder of Its Unification
While a virtual library of sixty-six books, a unity of thought pervades them all. Think of about forty different men from various walks and conditions of life, writing in different places and at different times over a period of about sixteen hundred years, and yet their messages, when brought together, form one complete whole. Imagine what inharmonic hodgepodge would be produced if forty different human composers over sixteen hundred years were each to write a few bars of music; and then someone were to attempt to play the sum total of their efforts. Yet in the Bible, instead of disconcerting discord, we have a marvelous unity and harmony of thought, theme, and purpose, such as could only be possible if one mind inspired and directed each penman in his contribution to the book. The poet has expressed the thought:
Where, but from heaven, could men unskilled in arts,
In several ages born, in several parts,
Weave such agreeing truths? Or how, or why
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie?
Unmasked their pains, ungrateful their advice,
Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price.
The Wonder of Its Adaptation
The Bible is suited to the needs of the human heart in all ages. What medical work, for instance, that was used fifteen hundred years before Christ, would stand the test of modern medical science? Yet the warnings of Genesis, the comfort of the Psalms, the morality of the Proverbs, the predictions of the Prophets, the pleas of the Evangelists, the instruction of the Epistles, and the glorious outlook of the Revelation, are as vitally needed in this twentieth century as in any millennium of the past. Men of all races, colors and conditions of society can drink at this wondrous fountain of Holy Scripture. In fact, they must drink if they would live spiritually. It is adapted to the soul needs of every person “From Greenland’s icy mountain to India’s coral strand.” It is as suited to the pygmy in the African jungle as to the businessman on Wall Street. Of what other book can this be said?
The Wonder of Its Salvation
While it deals with a thousand subjects, the theme of the Bible is one — the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, the Saviour of the world. When other subjects are treated, it is always in relation to the central theme of Christ and His atoning work. From Genesis to Revelation, He fills and dominates every horizon of truth. Like the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see “no man save Jesus only.”
This Book is as able to make any listener wise unto salvation as it did Timothy of old. The words of our Lord are still true: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
The Wonder of Its Edification
In parting from the elders of the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul said: “Brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up [i.e., to edify you], and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). One of the chief reasons for the inert, soft, and flabby type of Christianity we see so much today, is the great lack of true Bible exposition and because so many professing Christians feed their souls on the unholy scum of salacious literature instead of upon the Holy Scriptures of truth.
The Wonder of Its Preservation
The Bible is not only the best loved book, it is also the most hated book in all the world. It is passionately loved by its friends who, through the ages, have stained its pages with their blood and tears: the blood of those who chose death to a denial of its message; and the tears of countless thousands of penitent souls who were brought to see its estimate of themselves and who were willing to repent of their sins and accept the Saviour whom the Book presented. Add to that the tears of multitudes who were comforted by its message of hope as they passed through the foreboding gloom of the valley of the shadow of death.
It has been as passionately hated throughout the ages by its enemies, both within, as well as without, the professing Church. No book has been the object of such vitriolic assaults. Innumerable times, proud, unbelieving, sinful man, who stands condemned in its presence, has sought, by every diabolical device at his command, to destroy the Bible. But here it is, the proud survivor and victor of all these battles.
The Wonder of Its Consummation
To what does the Bible lead us? Where does it finally leave the person who believes its message? The Bible begins with God and ends with God. It lifts man from the depths of sin to the lofty heights of heavenly glory. It tells the sinner of the Just One who suffered for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; and give the justified sinner a standing before God in sovereign grace that no enemy in time or foe in eternity can destroy. It brings the Christian to the river of the water of life that flows through the paradise of God. It opens for him the gates of the celestial metropolis — the city that lies foursquare. It leaves him before the throne of God and of the Lamb and makes him part of that vast company of the redeemed who sing, throughout the ages, the praise of the Lamb that was slain. Such is the consummation of this Book of Wonders.