When GQ is Long Forgotten, the Bible Will Still be Revered
The Bible alone contains the words of eternal life.
The editors of GQ magazine recently released a list of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.” They also gave their recommendations as to which books you should read instead. (Is it rude of me to ask: Who cares?)
Number 12 on their list was the Bible, with the recommended replacement being The Notebook by Agota Kristof. Yes, you should skip the Bible and read Agota Kristof instead.
Editor Jesse Ball opined,
The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.
Setting the Record Straight
Allow me to set the record straight for Jesse.
It is the readers of the Bible who rate it very highly.
It is the readers of the Bible who have risked life and limb to share the message of this holy Book with others.
It is the readers of the Bible who marvel at its wisdom and power and majesty, who discover new treasures in its words year in and year out.
It is the readers of the Bible who say, “The teaching found in these pages is worth more to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold!” (See Psalm 119:72)
As for Ball’s claim that the Bible “is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced,” he actually has a point. That’s because the Bible is not merely a human production. It is more than human — it is supernaturally inspired, it is God-breathed, it is beyond what man can do.
It’s Not the Bible
What of Ball’s claim that the Bible “is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned”?
It’s like a straight-faced man sitting in a crowd roaring with laughter at the comedian’s jokes. He says, “This guy is not funny at all. Why is everyone laughing?”
Perhaps it’s the critic who is not getting the jokes?
The Best-Selling Book of All Time
Jesse, there’s a reason that the Bible is the bestselling book every year (and of all time).
There’s a reason that the Bible is the most translated book of all time. (According to one website, “there are currently 6909 living languages in the world. At least one book of Scripture has been translated for 2932 of these languages.”)
Over 100 million Bibles are printed every year. How many digital editions are there on our cell phones and tablets and computers? (To put this in perspective, how many subscribers does GQ have?)
People read the Bible daily for decades and find it ever fresh and refreshing.
People from every culture on the globe read the words of the Bible, yet all of them find it relevant.
People from every age and background study the words of the Bible, and somehow, it speaks to all.
Lacking Appreciation for the Bible
With all respect, Jesse, it’s not the Bible that is lacking. It’s your appreciation of God’s Word that is lacking. Have you ever asked Him to help you understand its message? Have you ever tried to discover why so many believe it to be inspired?
As for the writings of Kristof, when they bring forgiveness of guilt, when they transform sinners into saints, when they reconcile rebels to their Creator, when they change the destiny of whole nations, and when they give us a love story more wonderful than the Cross, I’ll look into them more carefully.
Until then, I’ll stay with God’s Word — the Book which alone contains the words of eternal life.