If You Had Only One Book...

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If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book to read, what would it be? Other than one on how to survive on a desert island or how to get off a desert island, what would you choose?

Curious, I perused an online discussion of this very question. As one would expect, there was a variety of opinions. Amazingly, not a single person selected the Bible even though it is "by far the bestselling book of all time" (Russell Ash, The Top 10 of Everything, p. 112).

Ironically, people buy Bibles, but apparently they don't read them. At least that's what seems to be the case according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The average respondent to this survey correctly answered only half of the 32 questions about the Bible and other aspects of religion. (Ironically, atheists scored higher than Christians!)

This year is a significant year in the history of the Bible. Exactly 400 years ago in 1611, the King James Version became available to English-speaking people. In the ensuing years this translation has had an enormous impact on Western nations. But will the average person even be aware of this historical milestone? Be sure to read the article "Your Bible Is 400 Years Old" for more details.

So let's say you selected the Bible as your book to read while stranded on a desert island. What are some of its key points?

Jesus, the Son of God, said that God's words, which are recorded for us in the Bible, are truth (John 17:17). Put another way, we can be absolutely sure that whatever God says is accurate. If He says something will come to pass, it will. When He explains how to have good relationships with others, what He reveals works.

In addition to explaining what God is doing and how we can live better lives, God's Word reveals our spiritual potential to become part of His eternal family. As John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." And of even more sobering significance, each of us will be judged by what is written in the Bible (Revelation 20:12).

Recognizing these principles, Paul told Timothy that the Holy Scriptures are "able to make you wise for salvation" (2 Timothy 3:15). Why? Because, as Paul continued, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (verses 16-17).

As beneficial and important as the Bible is, it is of no value unless one reads it and applies its timeless instructions. In this issue we draw your attention to the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible and highlight this book's continuing relevance. We hope it will inspire you to be like the people of Berea who "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). VT