I remember, probably when I was ten or eleven, Dad bringing home a used edition of The World Book Encyclopedia. At the time, our family of five were living in a small, three-room apartment attached to a defunct old country store. Our living space may have been cramped, but I was living in an immense world that opened up through that encyclopedia. For weeks and weeks, I spent hours with my nose buried in its pages. Right at my fingertips was a vast wealth of information on every conceivable subject. And I thrilled at the marvelous world of information and knowledge it opened up to me. I probably drove crazy both my immediate family and the relatives who frequently visited with factoids I had just learned. Until the creation of the internet, nothing (in my experience) came close to offering such a wealth of information. Now nearly everyone can find a vast trove of information (and misinformation) on virtually any conceivable topic at the touch of a button or screen. The wealth of available information is such that many people seemingly have become addicted to their electronic devices (though admittedly, not necessarily with the intention of acquiring real knowledge).
But God has given us something of infinitely more value than an encyclopedia or access to the internet. He has given us a book filled with His words, a book written by the Spirit of God who knows everything. A book that is true and accurate in every detail (in the original manuscripts) and completely trustworthy. A book that reveals literally everything we need to know to get us successfully through all time and to deliver us safely into all eternity.
God’s Word tells us where we came from. Vast quantities of time, of financial resources, and of modern scientific brain power are being squandered on a vain attempt to discover man’s origins in the primordial ooze of evolutionary myths. Where did we come from? How did we get here? The Bible gives us the answer. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 1:1; 2:7).
God’s Word tells us why we are here. Though with less scientific rigor, philosophers, social engineers, and a plethora of armchair psychologists try to manufacture a purpose in life for the human race. Their ideas are both vacuous and sad, leaving their adherents, by turns, fearful, frustrated, disillusioned, even suicidal and murderous. But the Bible tells us that “all things were created by him [Christ], and for him” (Col. 1:16), and that, like Paul, “we should be to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12).
God’s Word explains past human history. Is history just the story of human chance and accident or the account of strong men and nations manipulating others like helpless pawns? The Bible affirms that “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3). Also, God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 5:11).
God’s Word reveals yet future human history. Ecologists and those of that ilk are having a heyday with fearmongering about the future of the world. The Bible reveals the future. The Book of Revelation reveals what will transpire to the end of time right into eternity.
God’s Word tells us how to be victorious now. If all the “success” books that have been written were piled in one place, they would probably be heavy enough to sink a substantial ship. God’s message on the subject is much more succinct: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Josh. 1:8). Of course, as the remainder of the Word reveals, this status is not that being sold by the modern purveyors of the prosperity gospel.
God’s Word tells us how to navigate eternity. We will all spend eternity somewhere—either heaven or hell. Salvation is “not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Tit. 3:5). Rather, “by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
Infinitely better than an encyclopedia or the internet is the gift God has given us of His eternal Word. It provides, not merely all that we think we might need to know, but everything God knows we need to know. And we may rest in the assurance that God has a good purpose in withholding whatever it fails to disclose. May our eyes pore over its pages that its truth may pour into our hearts.
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