I love books. I love them to a degree that is probably bordering on unhealthy. There are stacks of them in my house. My shelves are double stacked. My wife is constantly pulling her hair out because they’re everywhere.
I love my books.
But I could part with all of them.
Seriously. All of them. Every graphic novel (which I’ve done before). Every commentary. Every book on prayer, on evangelism, on church leadership and the end times. Ever really great piece of literature. Every entertaining but not life-changing paperback.
Every single book I own could be taken away from me if necessary. Every book but one: My Bible.
My Bible is more important than any other book I own. It is the book from which I learn about God’s nature and character, about the grand plan he has been working throughout all of history to reconcile all things to himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the promise of the new creation and the certain hope of salvation through faith in him. Every page, every word, every syllable offers something more valuable than even the greatest literary works in my library. There is no more important book I own, even when I fail to treat it that way.
I love how Charles Spurgeon once described the value of the Scriptures. He said:
All other books might be heaped together in one pile and burned with less loss to the world than would be occasioned by the obliteration of a single page of the sacred volume [Scripture]. At their best, all other books are but as gold leaf, requiring acres to find one ounce of the precious metal. But the Bible is solid gold. It contains blocks of gold, mines, and whole caverns of priceless treasure. In the mental wealth of the wisest men there are no jewels like the truths of revelation. The thoughts of men are vanity, low, and groveling at their best. but he who has given us this book has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Let it be to you and to me a settled matter that the word of the Lord shall be honored in our minds and enshrined in our hearts. Let others speak as they may. We could sooner part with all that is sublime and beautiful, or cheering and profitable, in human literature than lose a single syllable from the mouth of God.1
This is the attitude we should all see growing within us as we read the Bible. As we begin to read it, it can be challenging. The cultural and historical distance, translational baggage, the temptation to jump into the most difficult to understand passages possible… all of this and more threatens to steal our joy as we take our first steps. But over time, we start to see more and more of the wonders God has given us in this book. And reading it eventually becomes one of our greatest joys because through it we come to know our glorious redeemer more and more deeply.
the many books I own are wonderful, but they don’t hold a candle to this one. I hope you feel the same.
(And Emily, if you’re reading this, this is not a license to get rid of all my books while I’m at work.)