Then a few weeks ago I found out about a new book that Christian Focus wanted bloggers to review, and when I saw it I jumped at the chance. It is called ‘What the Bible Means to Me’, edited by Catherine Mackenzie, and contains testimonies of how God’s word impacts lives.
I love the Bible and I also love biographies, so a combination of the two sounded like just the kind of thing I’d love to read. Testimonies are usually inspiring, and since I would like this blog to inspire and help people, hopefully some good quotes would achieve that purpose too :)
I wasn’t disappointed. The testimonies are written by different people with a wide variety of backgrounds, and they share a short personal story of what the Bible means to them. I found it interesting, exciting, encouraging and inspiring.
I underlined a lot of the book, but here are just a few of the things that stuck out to me from what was written:
The Wonder of the Bible
David Robertson says that the Bible is ‘an astonishing book – unlike any other. It is not an academic book yet it stretches my mind and makes me think unlike anything else I have ever read. It is not a self-help book yet it has been a greater help to me than everything I know. It is not a religious book and yet it has led me to God. It is not a political book and yet it has shown me why our world is in such a mess. It is not a book of morals and yet it has helped clarify for me right and wrong.'
What the Bible does
Peter Nicholas says that ‘God’s Word is active, it’s at work in me as I believe – comforting challenging, transforming, sustaining, refreshing me, and much more.’
Encouragement to read the Bible
Dr. Helen Roseveare says, ‘I cannot recommend too highly or too strongly the daily reading, learning, meditating in, feeding on and memorising of the Scriptures, the Living Word, the Bible. For me, they are the essential life-blood of Christian living. ‘For me to live is Christ!’ and He is the Living Word.’
Helpful tips for Bible reading
Bob Bond says, ‘As my mother told me, ‘Read it in, pray it down, and work it out.’
Rebecca Davis says, ‘A friend told me that too many Christians read it as if they’re looking for a Daily Vitamin Pill. When I began reading for actual understanding, I thought of it as my map from God, giving directions to Him. I thought of it as my greatest treasure.’
The Bible’s relevance for an unbeliever
Jim Cromarty says that ‘It was through my reading of the Scriptures that I came to see my sin, my coming judgement and my need of a Saviour.’
Also after every testimony there are facts given about the Bible, and these were very interesting to read, for example:
'6,900+ is the number of languages spoken in the world today. Almost 2,100 is the number of languages without any of the Bible.'
What I got from reading this book was a reminder of how powerful and amazing the Bible is, and also the encouragement that comes from knowing that there are others who feel the same way about it! I really liked the fact that quite a few of the testimonies were from people from the UK since that is where I live.
My only issue with the book was that the testimonies were so short that it was hard to transition from one to another. It felt like I was just getting into one person's story before they had stopped and another had started! But that also makes it a good book for picking up and putting down easily, since each section is only 2 or 3 pages long.
I think this book would be helpful to most Christians, and could also challenge those who are seeking the truth. For those who struggle with reading the Bible or who might wonder if it's really relevant, there are so many stories of how real and powerful it is that I think it would motivate them to read it.
I felt like I was meeting kindred spirits - others who love the Bible like I do, and I really enjoyed reading it.