by Henrylito D. Tacio
Dr. Howard A. Kelly was one of the most famous medical practitioners in the United States. He was professor of gynecology at Johns Hopkins University, and later the head surgeon and radiologist at the famous Howard A. Kelly Hospital in Baltimore. He wrote some twenty scientific books and five hundred medical and scientific articles. It took thirty lines in his biography just to indicate his honors in ‘Who’s Who In America.’
What was the secret of his greatness? “I rise regularly at six,” he revealed, “and after dressing, give all of my time until our eight o’clock breakfast to the study of God’s Word. I find time for brief studies during the day and again in the evening. I make it a general rule to touch nothing but the Bible after the evening meal.”
Well, Dr. Kelly was not the only famous American who believes in the Holy Bible. John Adams, the country’s second president, admitted, “I have made it a practice every year for several years to read through the Bible.” Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth president, also said, “If a man is not familiar with the Bible, he has suffered the loss which he had better make all possible haste to correct.”
In the third century, a monk named Antony lived a lifetime all alone in the endless desert of Egypt. Despite his isolation, he kept up a lively correspondence with many of the prominent personalities of the day. Emperor Constantine would write to ask for his advice. Other hermits would write asking for his prayers.
One day, one of Antony’s students expressed surprise that even kings and emperors wrote him. The saintly hermit replied, “Think nothing of it. What the emperor writes is nothing special. And what the other famous people write about is not even worth mentioning. As a matter of fact, I know of only one letter which is really worth reading, and re-reading, and thinking about.”
The student, of course, wanted to know who could have written such a special kind of letter. So Antony told him, “The letter that I am talking about was written for us humans by God himself. We call it the Bible.”
The word “Bible” comes the Greek word ‘biblios.’ The word “testament” means ‘covenant’ or ‘agreement.’ Henrietta C. Mears explains in her book, ‘What the Bible is All About,’ “The Old Testament is the covenant God made with man about his salvation before Christ came. The New Testament is the agreement God made with man about his salvation after Christ came.”
And so it came to pass that a prisoner was locked up to a solitary confinement and was given a Bible as his only companion. So, he studied it very carefully for several years. Long before the days of computers, he discovered the following facts:
The Bible contains 3,586,489 letters and 773,692 words. It has 31,173 verses and 1,189 verses. The word “and” occurs 46,277 times. The middle verse in the entire Bible is verse 8 of Psalm 118. All the letters of the alphabet are found in Ezra 8:21. The longer verse is Esther 8:9 while the shortest is in John 11:35.
The prisoner discovered all these facts but nowhere we were told that the message of the Bible touched the prisoner’s heart. Yes, he missed the main point. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus said (John 14:6).
The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. It is also the most-translated book of all time. But the question is: Which is the best Bible translation? Before you answer that question, allow me to share the story told by William Barclay:
Four clergymen were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version because of its simple, beautiful English. Another liked the American Standard Version best because it comes closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. The third liked Moffatt’s translation best because of its up-to-date words.
The fourth clergyman was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he replied, “I liked my mother’s translation best.” The other three expressed surprise and wanted to know what he meant. “Well,” he explained, “my mother translated the Bible into her everyday life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”
Ever heard of Urim and Thummin, which was discussed in Leviticus 8:8? This mysterious device was attached to the priest’s breastplate and somehow served to reveal God’s will in certain matters. Some believe it was a pouch containing two stones, one indicating “Yes” and the other signifying “No.” Others believe it was composed of jewels attached to the priest’s breastplate and which somehow indicated God’s will in various matters.
Harry A. Ironside, an exacting Bible student who took painstaking care in correctly interpreting and teaching the Word of God, gave it all a different twist as he told of a young British minister well-versed in all matter of theology. In his church sat a poor cobbler who, though uneducated, knew the Bible through and through. One day, the minister, wanting to impress the cobbler, asked, “Can you tell me what the Urim and the Thummin were?”
“I don’t know exactly,” replied the cobbler at length. “I understand that the words apply to something that was on the breastplate of the high priest. I know that through the Urim and Thummin, the high priest was able to discern the mind of God. But I find that I can get the mind of the Lord nowadays just by changing two letters.”
“By changing the two letters?” asked the minister. “Yes,” the cobbler said, “I take this blessed book, and just by usin’ and thumbin’ I get the mind of the Lord.” Ironside, laughing, endorsed the cobbler’s view.
Yes, use the Word of God daily, he told his audience. Thumb through it frequently, for it reveals the mind of Christ.
Ronald Reagan, the fortieth president of the United States, said it well: “Inside the Bible’s pages lie all the answers to all of the problems man has ever known…. It is my firm belief that the enduring values presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us. The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds, and refresh our souls.”
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