What is the Bible?
The Bible is a book, a collection of books actually, about 6 dozen of them written over a span of some 2000 years by about 3 dozen different individuals. It began with a simple quill or stylus dipped in ink with the characters and words marked either on animal skin known as parchment or a rough paper called papyrus. Typically comprised of individual sheets joined to form a scroll that was unrolled to read, copies were relatively rare and costly. As technologies changed it became words on paper, each ‘jot and tittle’ painstakingly hand-copied by scribes. It wasn’t until about 700 years ago when Johann Gutenberg developed the printing press that it took the relatively modern form of what we know as a mass produced, bound book. And now we can literally take the Bible out of thin air when we select ‘download’, obviating the need for pen and paper.
Beyond human writers and books or screens, the Bible is the eternal, immutable Word of God. “In the beginning” John writes in the opening of his Gospel, “was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This Word is the expression of God’s very nature, intent and purpose with human beings. A purpose, a message that we know and believe as Christ, the Anointed One, our Saviour and Redeemer. And the center of that message is God’s love for us and our love for Him and one another. Regardless of language or culture, paper or pixels, that message has not changed over time. So whatever the words, whatever the translation, whatever the way we read or hear it read, we need to keep our focus on the Word, the message. Because God’s Word is never more powerful than when it has individual meaning for us as real people with real lives. And that begs the question; what is the Bible to you?