An Outstanding Book and a Survivor
“No book has excited so much opposition . . . , but it has survived every attack which power, talent, and eloquence have ever made on it.”
WHY should the Bible be worthy of your attention? For one thing, it claims to contain God’s message to humanity. (2 Timothy 3:16) If that claim is true, then you would surely be missing out by not reading it.
Another reason for paying attention to the Bible is that it is one of the oldest books in existence and is by far the most widely translated and distributed. It is the best-selling book of all time and continues to top the best-seller list every year.
The claims, age, and circulation of the Bible are even more impressive in the light of the numerous attempts that have been made throughout history to suppress it. “No book has excited so much opposition as this; but it has survived every attack which power, talent, and eloquence have ever made on it,” stated the 19th-century theologian Albert Barnes.
The same writer noted that people naturally take an interest in anything that has withstood repeated onslaughts. “But no army ever survived so many battles as the Bible,” continued Barnes, “no ancient bulwark has endured so many sieges, and stood so firm amid the thunders of war and the ravages of time; and no rock has been swept by so many currents, and has still stood unmoved.”
Many ancient writings have been lost, destroyed, or just forgotten, but despite vicious attacks, the Bible has always survived. Some people have fought, at the risk of their life, to make it available to the masses. On the other hand, some have snatched it from the hands of yearning readers and have publicly burned Bibles and their owners.
Why has this book been so loved and so hated? What battles has it survived? Who tried to destroy it? More important, why has it survived? And why is its message important to you? The following pages will address these questions.
[Chart/Pictures on pages 2, 3]
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TIME LINE OF BIBLE PUBLISHING
1513 B.C.E.–c. 98 C.E. Bible is penned in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek
100 Becomes more portable in codex form
405 Translated into Latin by Jerome
1380 Translated from Latin into English by Wycliffe
1455 Gutenberg produces the first printed Bible
1525 Translated into English by Tyndale
1938 Printed in over 1,000 languages
2011 Available in over 2,500 languages