Chapter 1. Importance of God's Word

Table of Contents

A Book that is Unique
A Book that God Breathed
A Book that Works
A Book that Liberates
A Book that Wars
Appendix: "Once for All"
Supplement: Bible Reading Programs

Understanding God's word is of great importance to all who call on God's name. Study of the Bible is one of the primary ways that we learn to communicate with God.

A Book that is Unique

The Bible stands alone in many ways. It is unique in:

  • popularity. Bible sales in North America: more than $500 million per year. The Bible is both the all-time and year-to-year best seller!

  • authorship. It was written over a period of 1600 years by 40 different authors from different backgrounds, yet reads as if written by one.

  • preservation. F. F. Bruce in Are New Testament Documents Reliable? compares New Testament manuscripts with other ancient texts:

Table 1.1. Comparison of New Testament manuscripts with other ancient texts.

WorkWhen WrittenEarliest CopyTime LapseNumber of Copies
Herodotus448-428 B.C.900 A.D.1300 years8
Tacitus100 A.D.1100 A.D.1000 years20
Caesar's Gallic War50-58 B.C.900 A.D.950 years10
Livy's Roman History59 B.C. - 17 A.D.900 A.D.900 years20
New Testament40 A.D. - 100 A.D.130 A.D. Partial manuscripts 350 A.D. Full manuscripts30 - 310 years5000 Greek & 10,000 Latin

Ten copies of Caesar's Gallic War exist, the earliest of which was copied 900 years after Caesar wrote the original, etc. For the New Testament we have full manuscripts dating to 350 A. D., papyri containing most of the New Testament from the 200s, and a fragment of John's gospel from 130 A. D. How many manuscripts do we have to compare to each other? 5,000 in Greek and 10,000 in Latin!


"In the verity and fullness of the evidence on which it rests, the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone among other ancient prose writings."

 --Textual critic F. J. A. Hort, "The New Testament in the Original Greek", vol. 1 p561, Macmillan Co., quoted in Questions of Lifep. 25-26