As I reflect on the journey I've taken in my lifetime, I am struck by the many twists and turns in the road that have led me to where I am now: A total and complete trust in the Lord and His infallible Word.
While the traditional family Bible had a place of honor in our home, Mom said that it was the very word of God, and, therefore, too sacred for my messy hands to touch. In 1943, shortly after my 14th birthday, I became a Christian and the pastor gave me a Bible. Messy hands or not, I had my very own copy to read, but where does one start? It's a big book.
Even at that young age, I had developed a habit that continues to this day. I read everything from back to front: newspapers, magazines and books. The last chapter first. Therefore, I opened my new Bible to the Book of Revelation and began to read. Apostle John's vivid symbolism came alive, and my heart was filled with fear and dread at the devastation he saw coming someday upon my world. Wars, diseases, and out-of-control environmental changes revealed God's great power over everything, including me. Believing that every word I was reading was true, I was dumbstruck.
Then, I found a scene in the eleventh chapter of Revelation that was utterly impossible to believe! Confused and disheartened, I handed my Bible to my stepfather. "You've told me that I can believe every word in this Book. But, read Revelation 11:7-12, and tell me how the whole world will be able to watch two Jewish men on the streets of Jerusalem for three days; and people will send gifts to one another when the two men are killed? The whole world will never be able to do that!"
My stepfather handed my Bible back to me with advice I'll never forget: "I don't know how it can ever become true. The Jews aren't even in Israel, and I don't see any chance that they ever will be. But I do know that someday it will happen just as the Bible records it. We may not live to see it come to pass, but trust God's Word, it will!"
Within fifteen years everyone owned a TV set. Watching the news one day, I remembered my questions of 15 years before. Within my lifetime, two thousand years after John wrote those words, news from all over the world comes right into my home. The whole world will see those two men when it happens! "Trust God's Book. Every word in it is literally true," became my motto.
Back in 1943, I began at Genesis and read it from cover to cover. Surely I'd be able to understand the very mind of God by the time I finished, I thought. But, as I read, my young mind tried to fit it all together into one neat little package, without success.
Again, my stepfather offered wisdom: "We dare not pick and choose between verses we think we like and those that we don't. God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Accept them all as His Truth. Stay balanced. God is easy to understand as long as you don't try to explain him."
I took that advice and labored to stay balanced, trying not to put God in a box, because once I've wrapped it and tied a bow on it, I would no longer be open to His complete Truth. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, I accepted all 66 books as written by the Holy Spirit, literal and inerrant. In fact, the Bible claims inspiration for itself: 2 Peter 1:20-21, states that its authors wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
As Bible scholar F. B. Meyer said, "There has been something so unique in these books that they have always stood and fallen together. Belief in one has led to belief in all. Their hands are linked and locked so tightly that where one goes all must follow."
Can you imagine the Apostle John in AD 95, writing that the citizens of Jerusalem would some day be viewed by the whole world? As the Holy Spirit directed John to write those words, what did he think? Did he feel the same way I did in 1943; that it was utterly impossible? Whatever his reaction, John faithfully recorded God's Word as it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. There are hundreds of similar predictions in the Bible that have come to pass as well. Only the God who created the universe and everything in it, is capable of writing such a book!Smith is a writer who lives in Charleston and can be reached at ERS...@aol.com.