When the famous Christian missionary Dr. David Livingston set out on his trek across Africa he brought with him a small collection of medical and religious books that he felt were indispensable to the success of his work. All in all there were a total of 73 books in 3 packs, weighing around 180 pounds. After 300 hundred difficult miles, Livingstone knew that if his party were going to survive they would have to lighten their lode. And, among other things, one by one he began throwing away some of his prized books. As he continued on his journey the size of his library grew smaller and smaller, until he had only one book left, one he refused to throw way-his Bible.
Would you have made the same decision? If, through some misfortune, you had to throw out all your records, CDs, videos, DVDs, and books except one, would you chose to keep your Bible? That is what David Livingston did! Why? He doesn’t say. But I think the answer is self-evident. Livingston believed that the Bible was no ordinary book. It was something that was so powerful and practical for his daily life that to forfeit it would have been like throwing away his supply of food. It was something that impacted the way he lived his life on a daily basis. It made a practical difference to how he lived life. It was something he not could get along without.
It was similar convictions that motivated early scribes to take up the painstaking task of copying by hand the ancient scriptures. They knew the Scriptures were not just any regular book, but they contained a treasure and power that far outweighed the painstaking labor that was the price for copying every word on every page. It is through their labor over the centuries that we have the Scriptures today. In our final lesson, we consider what it is about the Bible that has set it apart from any other work of literature this world has ever known.
Questions for Discussion:
- Tuesday”s lesson makes the following comment; “As long as this great truth [Christ”s death and resurrection] is taught to us, what does it matter how old the Bible is or who wrote it or under what circumstances? What matters is that through it God has revealed to us the great truth of salvation through Jesus.” How would you answer the “what does its matter” questions. Are questions of a historical nature important or irrelevant? Why?
- The Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible as it is called by some, is of importance to both Jews and Christians. So, in some sense, both faith communities believe it is relevant for us today. Yet Christians would argue that it is the story of Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament, that completes for fulfills the Old Testament. In light of that, what is it about the birth and life of Jesus that is so significant? What is it about his death that is so revolutionary? And finally, what is it about his resurrection that makes such a difference?
- Early Scribes believed that the Scriptures were of such importance they took the time to copy them by hand so we might have them today. What are you doing, or what have you done in your family to help “preserve” the word of God for future generations?
- Sunday”s lesson states, there is a “need for growth” in the Christian life, but it never explicitly states the reason why. Why, in your opinion, is such a need necessary? If one can be saved as a “babe in Christ,” why should we be concerned with growing into spiritual maturity?
- The Bible is not the only ancient religious text to survive the centuries. What makes the Bible different from the Koran, or other ancient religious texts?