Jottings About the Bible: Its Power and Authority

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
CHRISTIAN workers are apt to find many who, without looking into the claims of the Book itself, simply decide from hearsay or newspaper reports of addresses given by followers of the higher criticism that they do not believe in the Bible at all.
In one of our meetings I met this sort of a young man. He had remained to the after-meeting, and when I sought to deal with him he at once said: “But I don’t believe in the Bible.” I said: “What part of it don’t you believe in?” And he answered: “None of it.” Then I said, in as kindly a way as I could summon (for I think we need to be very tender and sympathetic with just such cases as this): “Have you ever read the Bible through?” He replied: “No, sir.” Then I said: “Did you ever read the Old Testament through?” And again he replied: “No, sir.” Then I continued: “Have you ever read the New Testament through?” Again he answered: “No, sir.” Then I said: “Did you ever read one book through?” And he answered at once: “Yes, sir.” “Which one?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “I am not sure: it was one of the Gospels.” “How long since you read it?” And with a blush mantling his cheek, be it said to his credit, he answered: “About eight years ago.” “So,” I said, “you went through one of the Gospels about eight years ago in Sunday School, did you not?” “Who told you that?” was his question. I said: “Never mind who told me; it is a fact, is it not?” And he admitted that it was. “Now,” I said, “surely you cannot recall very much in that book, can you, after eight years?” And again he admitted that he could not.
Looking at him, I said: “My friend, just think of your position. You started by saying that you didn’t believe in any part of the Bible, and you have now admitted to me that you know nothing about it whatever, except what you may have gleaned eight years ago, while attending Sunday School. Now, is it fair to say that you don’t believe in a thing about which you know no more than you do about this? Let me ask a favor of you. Will you promise me that you will never again look into the face of one of your fellow-men and tell him that you do not believe in the Bible until you have read it through, or at least part of it? Will you promise me that?” And in the most manly fashion he said: “I will.”
This young fellow was a very interesting type of a large class of intelligent mechanics who get their theology mainly from the newspaper reviews. About a month or two afterwards, in conducting a meeting, to my great delight I saw him in the audience, and hastening to him, at the close of the meeting, I extended my hand and gave him a cordial greeting. He at once asked if I remembered him. And having answered that I did, I asked: “Do you remember your promise to me? Have you fulfilled it?” He answered: “Yes, sir, in the main I have. A short time after our conversation together,” he continued, “I borrowed a New Testament from the landlady at our boardinghouse, and on an afternoon when I was unable to work, on account of the condition of the weather, I read it almost through, and later I finished the rest of it.” “What was the result?” I queried. Looking at me with a face in which the very light of heaven shone, he said: “You know, sir, what the result would be, as well as I do.” Of course I did, and I feel sure that a great many persons who imagine themselves to be skeptical, having difficulties and doubts, would have them cured very speedily if they really read and studied the Word of God and were prepared to bow to its absolute authority.