July 1, 2006 - This issue of Decision features several articles about the Bible—the Word of God. The Bible is at the heart of the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and although critics, skeptics, novelists and filmmakers may question or attack it, the Bible has withstood every challenge through the centuries. This classic message from Billy Graham goes to the heart of the matter: What does the Bible tell us about our relationship to God? —The Editors
A Message by Billy Graham
The Bible is being discussed today more than ever before. Many articles about the Bible are appearing in magazines, indicating a new interest in this ancient and historic Book. Some people want to get rid of it completely. Some want to keep it just as literature. And many, believing it to be God’s Word, want to live by it. Does the Bible have anything to say to us?
The Constitution of Our Faith
The United States has a constitutional form of government. A number of men, after long argument and debate, drew up the Constitution and submitted it to the 13 Federated States for ratification. The presupposition of these framers of the Constitution was that law was absolute.
People in the United States were to be free, for they were to know what the law required and also what the law could not do. They were to know their rights, their privileges and their limitations. No judge was to be unfair but was to judge cases as the law required.
People found that if they knew the law and kept it, they would be truly free. They knew where they stood, for constitutional law made it clear.
The Bible is the constitution of Christianity. Just as the United States Constitution is not of any private interpretation, neither is the Bible of any private interpretation. Just as the Constitution includes all who live under its stated domain, without exception, so the Bible includes all who live under its stated domain, without exception.
God’s laws for the spiritual world are found in the Bible. Whatever else there may be that tells us of God, it is more clearly told in the Bible.
Life as It Is
Nature in her laws tells of God, but the message tells us nothing of the love and grace of God. Conscience, in our inmost being, tells us of God, but the message is fragmentary. The only place we can find a clear, unmistakable message is in the Word of God, which we call the Bible.
True Christianity finds all of its doctrines in the Bible; true Christianity does not deny any part of the Bible; true Christianity does not add anything to the Bible. For many centuries the Bible has been the most available book on the earth. It has no hidden purpose. It cannot be destroyed.
The Bible has a magnificent heritage. It has 66 books, written over a period of 1,600 years by more than 30 writers, and yet the message is the same throughout—so clearly that the 66 books are actually one book.
The message, in every part, is straightforward. No writer changed his message to put his friends in a better light. The sins of small and great alike are frankly admitted, and life is presented as it actually is.
The Center of Controversy
The Bible is the most modern book in the world. It has been the anvil upon which the critics have worn out their hammers. Critics claim the Bible is full of forgery, fiction and unfulfilled prophecy, but the findings of archaeology have corroborated rather than denied the biblical data.
Our faith, which is not dependent upon human knowledge and scientific advance, has nevertheless presented a magnificent case at the “bar of knowledge.”
How many times we have heard someone say, “Why, the Bible contradicts itself!” Very few who make that statement have used the family Bible for more than a storage place for pressed flowers.
The first requirement placed upon critics is that they read carefully every chapter of the Bible. They ought also to know something about how we got our Bible, the miracle of its writing. Biblical history is fascinating and makes us appreciate the Book that has been preserved for us to this day.
If you are setting yourself up as a critic, it is your responsibility to read and know both sides of the question. It is significant that very few Bible critics have bothered themselves to read the literature available on the defense of the Bible, much less the Bible itself.
The Bible will always be the center of controversy. For many centuries there have been purges and bonfires. There are Bibles in existence today that were baked into loaves of bread to keep them from the hands of leaders who wanted to destroy the Word of God. There are Bibles in scores of languages; organizations are working around the clock to provide Bible portions for remote tribes so that they, too, may have God’s Word.
Light and Strength
You may ask me today, “What is the message of the Bible?” The message of the Bible is Jesus Christ.
The Bible is concerned only incidentally with the history of Israel or with a system of ethics. The Bible is primarily concerned with the story of humanity’s redemption through Jesus Christ. If you read Scripture and miss the story of salvation, you have missed its message and its meaning.
The story of Jesus can be traced through the Bible.
- In Genesis He is the Seed of the Woman.
- In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb.
- In Leviticus He is the Atoning Sacrifice.
- In Numbers He is the Smitten Rock.
- In Deuteronomy He is the Prophet.
- In Joshua He is the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts.
- In Judges He is the Deliverer.
- In Ruth He is the Heavenly Kinsman.
- In 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles He is the Promised King.
- In Nehemiah He is the Restorer of the Nation.
- In Esther He is the Advocate.
- In Job He is My Redeemer.
- In Psalms He is My Song.
- In Proverbs He is Wisdom.
- In Ecclesiastes He is My Goal.
- In the Song of Solomon He is My Satisfier.
- In the prophets He is the coming Prince of Peace.
- In the Gospels He is God in Christ Jesus, come to redeem.
- In Acts He is alive in the Church.
- In the Epistles He is Christ at the Father’s right hand.
- In Revelation He is the Mighty Conqueror.
The message of Jesus Christ, our Savior, is the story of the Bible—it is the story of salvation; it is the story of the Gospel; it is the story of life, peace, eternity and heaven. The whole world ought to know the story of the Bible.
But if this Gospel is hidden today from anyone reading these words, it is hidden because you have never opened your Bible—or you have opened it, but with a closed mind.
He Bridges the Gap
The story of the Scriptures is the story of your redemption and mine through Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Gospel. His death, burial and resurrection is the Gospel story, and without Him you are lost and doomed.
The Bible teaches that there is a hell and a heaven. The way to heaven is by receiving and trusting Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV). The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23, NKJV). The Bible says, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20, NKJV).
And the Bible says the only way to bridge the gap between us and God is through Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NKJV).
Today you can accept the Christ of the Bible. You can know peace of soul, peace of conscience and peace of mind by letting Him come into your heart by faith.
Will you now, as you read these words, open your heart to Christ?