Is The Word of God in Your Life?

Written by Josh Romo

Josh began preaching at the Fordland congregation in 2016. He graduated from the Memphis School of Preaching in 2006. Josh has worked with the Lord’s Church in Alabama, Texas, and Missouri.

February 5, 2023

Phil Sanders, Ph.D.

             “I never had any doubt about it being of divine origin. . . point out to me any similar collection of writings that has lasted for as many thousands of years and is still a best-seller, world-wide. It had to be of divine origin” (Ronal Reagan).

            According to the United Bible Society the Bible has been translated in part into more than 2426 languages and fully into 429 languages. Currently some portion of the Bible is being translated for the first time in 320 languages. The Bible is by far the most universally read and most treasured book of all time. Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) said of the Bible:

            Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man. It comes into the palace to tell the monarch that he is a servant of the Most High, and into the cottage to assure the peasant that he is a son of God. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life.

            The New Testament is the best attested book in ancient literature with more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and sources. The oldest fragment of the New Testament is Papyrus 52 of the John Rylands Library, dating to ca. 125 AD and containing portions of John 18. Scribes wrote out this manuscript within a generation of the life of the apostle John.

            F.F. Bruce said, “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament” (The Books and the Parchments: How We Got Our English Bible 178).


BookNumber of ManuscriptsDate of WritingEarliest ManuscriptsDifference (date of writing and earliest manuscripts)
Caesar’s Gallic Wars10 good manuscripts58-50 B.C.900 years later than Caesar’s day950 years
Livy’s Roman Historyonly 35 of the 142 books survive in only 20 manuscripts59 B.C.-17 ADoldest is fourth century AD.  ca. 400 years
Histories of Tacitusonly 5 of 16 books remain; of the Annals only 10 of 16 survive; 2 manuscripts100 ADone dated in the ninth century and one in the eleventh.800-1,000 years
Aristotlewe have only 5 MSS of any one work he has written384-322 B.C.the oldest copy extant is eleventh century AD1400 years
History by Pliny the Younger7 MSS.61-113 A.D.850 A.D.750 years
New Testament5,600 manuscripts45-96 AD125 AD earliest papyrus; 350 AD earliest complete Bible; 40 of 116 papyrii dating before 350 AD40-150 years

            The contrast between the New Testament and the other ancient literature is evident.

            When we consider the Old Testament, there are numerous surprises. The Jews preserved the Scriptures as no other manuscripts have ever been preserved.  With their massora, they kept tabs on every letter, syllable, word and paragraph.  They had special classes of men with their culture whose sole duty was to preserve and transmit these documents with practically perfect fidelity–scribes, lawyers, and massoretes.  Whoever counted the words of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, or Seneca? 


            With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a number of Old Testament manuscripts have been found which scholars date before the time of Christ. When the facts are known and compared, there is an overwhelming abundance of reasons for believing that the manuscripts we possess are trustworthy. Sir Frederic Kenyon said that “the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.”

            Gleason Archer, in comparing the manuscript variations of the Hebrew text with pre-Christian literature such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, states it is amazing that the Hebrew text does not have the phenomenon of discrepancy and manuscript change of other literature of the same age. He writes:

Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were as thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A. D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. Even those Dead Sea fragments of Deuteronomy and Samuel which point to a different manuscript family from that which underlies our received Hebrew text do not indicate any differences in doctrine or teaching. They do not affect the message of revelation in the slightest (A Survey of Old Testament Introduction 25).

One can only marvel at the providence of God. What David wrote and Jesus said thousands of years ago have proven true:  “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89).  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

            Belief in the Bible and the willingness to read it is actually growing in America. According to researcher George Barna, in 2006 48 percent of all adults agreed strongly that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 42% in 2002 and 35% in 1991. In 2006 47 percent of Americans read their Bibles during a typical week, compared to 40 percent in 2001 and 34 percent in 1996. Barna said that in a 2006 survey that 96 percent of Christians had read their Bible in the past seven days (

The Bible Works

            Christian Johnson said, “A Bible that is falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn’t.” No book in all of history can match the impact of the Holy Bible. Woodrow Wilson, a great believer in God’s word acknowledged, “Give the Bible to the people, unadulterated, pure, unaltered, unexplained, uncheapened, and then see it work through the whole nature. It is very difficult indeed for a man or for a boy who knows the Scriptures ever to get away from it. It follows him like the memory of his mother. It haunts him like an old song. It reminds him like the word of an old and revered teacher. It forms a part of the warp and woof of his life.”

            The Bible has power to transform (Rom. 12:2), to bring about faith (John 20:30-31; Rom. 10:17), to nourish (1 Pet. 3:2), to revive (Psalm 19:7), to make wise (Psalm 19:8), to enlighten (Psalm 19:8), to cleanse (John 15:3), to sanctify (John 17:3), to cause our new birth (1 Pet. 1:23), and to save when obeyed (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:21; James 1:21).

            An unread Bible, however, is like an uneaten meal, a neglected dose of medication, or a lesson unlearned. It could and should and would have made a difference.

            Sadder still is the Bible that is read but not lived. James said, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:22-25).

            We could see a great change in the church, in our culture, in our nation, and in the world if people would not only read but also live out the word of God. It may indeed be the greatest need of our time.

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