The Book of Books
“OH GIVE me that Book! At any price give me that Book of God. Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one Book.” That one book, the greatest of all books that John Wesley so desired, is God’s Word the Bible. Men in all ages, of all nationalities and in all walks of life have sung the praises of the Book of books.
George Washington, the first president of the United States, hailed the Bible in these words: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible . . . He is worse than an infidel who does not read his Bible and acknowledge his obligation to God.”
President John Adams called the Bible “the best Book in the world.” President Thomas Jefferson had this to say: “I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands . . . The Bible makes the best people in the world.”
President Abraham Lincoln considered time studying the Bible well spent: “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man.”
President Theodore Roosevelt remarked: “To every man who faces life with real desire to do his part in everything, I appeal for a study of the Bible.” President Woodrow Wilson closely linked the destiny of America with the daily study of the Bible. “I have a very simple thing to ask of you,” he said. “I ask every man and woman in this audience that from this day on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book.”
President John Quincy Adams saw in the Bible a storehouse of wisdom, knowledge and virtue. Of himself he said: “My custom is to read four or five chapters of the Bible every morning immediately after rising. . . . It seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day . . . It is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.” General Douglas MacArthur prefers to do his reading before going to bed: “Believe me, sir, never a night goes by, be I ever so tired, but I read the Word of God before I go to bed.” Daniel Webster, statesman, lawyer and student of literature, recalled: “From the time that, at my mother’s feet or on my father’s knee, I first learned to lisp the verses from the sacred writings, they have been my daily study and vigilant contemplation.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson called the Bible “the most original book in the world.” The Scottish national poet Robert Burns said: “I have taken tooth and nail to the Bible and am got through the Five Books of Moses and halfway in Joshua; it is really a glorious book.” The Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle called the book of Job “one of the grandest things ever written with pen.” The English poet and prose writer Walter Savage Landor declared that the Bible “contains more specimens of genius and taste than any other volume in existence.” Sir Isaac Newton, natural philosopher and mathematician, stated: “I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.”
The American educator William Lyon Phelps once said: “I thoroughly believe in a university education for men and women, but I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible.” And ex-President Herbert Hoover stated: “The study of the Bible is a post-graduate course in the richest library of human experience.”
The Bible is much more. “The Scriptures contain a declaration of the mind and will of God . . . They ought also to be read, believed and fulfilled in our day. We accept them as the words of God Himself,” said William Penn. Merchant John Wanamaker had this to say: “I cannot too greatly emphasize the importance and value of Bible study—more important than ever before in these days of uncertainties, when men and women are apt to decide questions from the standpoint of expediency rather than upon the eternal principles laid down by God Himself.”
American statesman, scientist and philosopher Benjamin Franklin advised: “Cultivate an acquaintance with a firm belief in the Holy Scriptures. This is your certain interest.” William E. Gladstone, statesman, recognized that the Bible builds real men. “I have known ninety-five great men of the world in my time,” he said, “and of these, eighty-seven were all followers of the Bible.”
The Bible’s Author gave this counsel: “This book of the law should not depart from your mouth and you must in an undertone read in it day and night in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.”—Josh. 1:8, NW.
A psalmist praised the wisdom of this counsel: “Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have kept thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might observe thy word. I have not turned aside from thine ordinances; for thou hast taught me.”—Ps. 119:97-102, AS.
A prophet and king, Jesus Christ, hailed the words of God as truth: “Your word is truth.” He said that “every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth” was necessary for life.—John 17:17; Matt. 4:4, NW.
The apostles of Jesus Christ also praised the Word of God. Paul declared: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” And Peter added: “The word spoken by Jehovah endures forever.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 1 Pet. 1:25, NW.