Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 9, 1954
NUMBER 18, PAGE 4-5b

The Bible For Everyday Living


On a late September day in the year 1832 in the little Scottish village of Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott lay dying. He was sixty-one years of age, and even at the time of his death was recognized as one of the greatest literary figures the English speaking world had ever produced. His family and a few close friends were gathered around his bedside, watching with bated breath as the feeble flame of life flickered toward final extinction. On the bed Sir Walter lay motionless, only his eyes, clear, steady, and untroubled showed that even in the hour of death his mind was unclouded. Suddenly turning those on his son, and with a strength he had not shown in days, he said, "Bring the book." There was a questioning look from one face to another, and after a short pause his son asked, "What book, Father?" Sir Walter half way raised himself from his pillow, and replied in clear and ringing tones, "The Book! There is but one book!" A Bible was quickly brought forth, and as life ebbed out of the wasted frame on the bed, the words of eternal life were being slowly read from the Book which had been asked for. He died with the dying day, the words from God's Book being the last mortal sound which ever fell upon his ears.

There are many who would think of that as the ideal picture. What more fitting, they would ask, than to have the solid comfort and the enduring consolation of God's word in the hour of death? In every age, and to every man who has been willing to receive it, this book has given steadiness and strength in the moment of weakness; it has given courage when fear would have held him paralyzed; it has provided comfort when he came to lay his loved ones back into the bosom of mother earth. For every crisis in life this book has given that which was needed.

This very quality has led some to suppose that the Bible is only for those crucial, dramatic, decisive hours of life; that its normal and proper use is in those momentous events and decisions which sooner or later come in every life. To be sure, the Bible does have its place there. But by no means is it to be limited to such hours. These crucial hours come not more than a handful of times into any normal life span. Our lives for the most part are made up of very undramatic, prosaic, ordinary things — working, visiting, sleeping, keeping house, rubbing shoulders day by day with our fellow-workers in the thousand and one trivial tasks and duties which are essential, but no one of which is very world shaking in importance. Furthermore, we will find as the years go by and the first restless energy of youth wears off that these monotonous, ordinary, everyday labors can sap our strength, deplete our moral forces, and bring us to the brink of disaster quite as effectively as can the more dramatic things of life. For these ordinary hours we need strength quite as much as for the other. It is by the word of God, eternal and enduring, that suffering humanity is sustained and strengthened in the hours of crisis; it is by that same word that the long, hard burden and heat of the day is made endurable.

In his final farewell to the Ephesian elders, as they were gathered together in the little village of Miletus, Paul said, "And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified." (Acts 20:32.) It is this "building up" day by day, which enables the Christian in hours of trial and temptation to stand fast and secure. He has strengthened himself in days of calm that he may endure when the storm breaks. He has builded day by day on the rock; the rains and floods and howling winds (which are certain to come) will not cause his house to fall. He does not hastily reach for God's word when the crisis approaches, rather he has used it for all the long months that have preceded the storm.

The Bible proves itself in that it removes the anxiety from responsibility; it takes the drudgery, the grinding soul-destroying burden and weariness out of honest toil. And for all those who will receive its simple teachings with an open and honest heart, it removes and puts an end forever to the confusion in religion which exists in the world. In America today there are perhaps as many as three hundred different Protestant bodies. In Catholicism there are differences as deep set and bitter as any that appear among Protestants (not so apparent to the casual observer, but there nevertheless). The man in the street is bewildered and distressed by these clashing differences. He makes no pretension to scholarly erudition; on the contrary he knows he can read neither Greek nor Hebrew nor Latin. But he knows also that something is wrong. The followers of Christ ought not to be divided; parties and strife's and factions are not right.

For the honest heart, however, the word of God gives the solution. If he will determine to use it daily, humbly and reverently determined in his study to follow its teachings explicitly, he will soon find the confusion clearing, the fogs being dissipated, and the clear light of God's will shining through with a golden glow of truth. He will become a follower of Jesus Christ. Theological technicalities, denominational differences, creedal declarations — all these things will fade far, far away as he comes to know Jesus Christ, the Son of God, winsome in his beauty and holiness. The honest man will become a Christian, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. God's word will be his daily guide, and will not be reserved only for the great and dramatic hours of life. It is a rule by which to live, as well as an aid by which to die. — F.Y.T.