Usually, when I get questions like, What are your ten favorite books or what books have influenced you most, in a meme circulating on Facebook, I don’t include the Bible. I simply don’t think of it like I do other books. But . . . if I were stranded on a desert island or put into prison and was allowed only one book, it would be the Bible.
First, it’s so varied, I’d never get bored. There are love stories, biographies that read like adventure stories. There are stories about war and sacrifice and shipwrecks and the beginning of the most amazing organization ever. There is history and poetry and prophecy. There are all those different authors, so the tone of the individual books is diverse. There are different heroes and different villains. There’s surprise and the miraculous. Definitely the Bible is not boring.
The biggest thing, though, is that God reveals Himself in the pages of the Bible. If I were stranded by myself, I’d want, more than at any other time, to know the things God says about Himself. In black and white I’d have His assurance that He would not leave me or forsake me, that nothing could separate me from His love, that He won’t fail me, that He is faithful and true, that He keeps His word, that He is the friend of sinners. I’d be so happy to have a book that reminded me of who it was that sat by my side.
The Bible would also be the perfect book to give me hope. I mean it lays out the future in God’s presence for those who believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Lord. It spells out the inheritance His children will receive, the commendation of “Well done, good and faithful servant” those who follow Him will receive; the crown of life, the unfading crown of glory, the crown of righteousness that He’ll give one day; the joy in His presence; the banquet we’ll be a part of; the meaningful work He’ll give us; and on and on. The future without the problems which sin dumps on us, is indeed hopeful.
The Bible also would be great to have with me because it’s mentally stimulating. Nothing interprets the Bible so much or so well as the Bible. So Paul says in Ephesians, “By grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one may boast.” And James turns around and explains what faith actually is:
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. (2:14-17, emphasis mine)
So there would be lots to think about, lots to compare and study.
The Bible also serves as a mirror, so by reading it, I get to know myself better than ever. It reveals my heart, my desire, my waywardness, my need for a Savior. It’s not a feel good book, in the sense that it’s going to tell me I’m OK, when I clearly know that’s not the case. On the contrary, it tells me I’m a sinner, but it gives me the remedy.
Above all, the Bible is Good News. The Best News, really, because it’s about eternal solutions, not some kind of quick fix that will need to be reworked in a day or two.
Most definitely, if I could only take one book to some place of isolation, I’d have no problem claiming the Bible as my one Book!