The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. [Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)]
A popular mystery writer, frequently on the best seller list, now seems to write most of his books with a co-author. A few years ago, after reading one of those joint efforts, I stopped reading his work. While I never expected a literary masterpiece, the mystery was unrealistic and implausible and the chapters unconnected. If there had been a plot outline, I doubt either author knew it.
Even having a plot outline, however, doesn’t mean continuity in a book. Last year, I was part of a book project in which twelve women were to write a chapter about a way they were hurt by the world and then healed and transformed by Jesus. In spite of having a similar theme, herding cats would have been easier than having twelve women come together in a cohesive voice. Granted, we are from diverse backgrounds but, instead of being a patchwork quilt bound together, we were more like twelve totally different blankets. After reading the assorted chapters and finding nothing binding them together, I wished the project well but withdrew.
If twelve Christian women couldn’t come together into a unified voice and two well-known professional writers couldn’t put together a simple plot, I find it amazing that about forty authors managed to put together the sixty-six books of the Bible over a span of about 1,500 years. It’s not always easy to read but, without a doubt, the Bible makes sense and has a unifying theme: the revelation of God’s plan and purpose for His people and His Kingdom.
Granted, the authors of the different Biblical books have their own style. There is poetry, law, and history along with biography, and prophesy. We even have personal letters and words of wisdom. Written in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), the writing took place everywhere from the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula to the king’s palace in Israel, from Babylon to a prison in Rome. They certainly were a diverse group of writers: a doctor, fishermen, shepherds, kings, scribes, judges, a tent maker and even an adviser to a Babylonian king. Yet, in spite of their different backgrounds, languages, times and places, there is still a unity to what all of these men wrote. While not a unanimous voice, the Bible has a unified voice. How could they do it when educated well-read people living at the same time and speaking the same language find it so difficult? Unlike my writing project with twelve women each writing her own story or the mystery with its disjointed chapters, the Bible it is one continuous story. Moreover, although there are forty some writers, there is only one author—God. It was God who inspired those men and, because they wrote His word, the Bible is one uninterrupted and unified story. It is, indeed, “God-breathed.”