Friday, May 10, 2024


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Books have been published and produced for hundreds of years. Some people predicted their demise with the advent of modern technology, such as Kindles and other electronic devices for reading. 

However, as a visit to a bookshop makes clear, books are still being produced in large quantities in hard copy, both hardback and paperback. There are still vast numbers of people who love to hold a book and turn the pages, and many also find looking at a screen a numbing and difficult experience.  

Reading is vital for education and the gaining of information. The Apostle Paul, right up to the end of his life, maintained his reading regime as he asked, in the last letter he wrote addressed to Timothy, that books be forwarded to him and also the parchments (2 Timothy 4.13). The Apostle John, in a statement of hyperbole or exaggeration to make a point, said, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21.25). He indicates that we only have a sample in the Gospel accounts of the wonders and miracles performed by Jesus.  

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

As we look over history and see the vast number of published books, it is impossible to quantify and catalogue each one. The world's great libraries have done their best and contain millions of books and manuscripts. Some books achieve publishing success on a grand scale and continue to reach generations of readers long after the author has died. One of those books is "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan, who wrote it in 1675 and is estimated to have sold 250 million copies. One reason is that it tells a compelling story and has an immediacy which transcends the generations. It also gives hope as the pilgrim in the story finds salvation and life eternal despite the many trials he has to go through. He finds that security in Jesus Christ when, at the cross, his burden falls away.

Other books which have sold in large quantities are "The Hobbit" (110 million), Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (115 million), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (125 million), "Scouting for Boys" (120 million), "Lord of the Rings" (155 million). Yet these are all dwarfed by the three most excellent sellers of all time. The Koran (the Muslim holy book) has sold 800 million copies, and Mao Tse-Tung's "The Little Red Book", which is made up of quotations by Mao, has sold over a billion copies (1.1 billion). These sorts of figures are sensational, yet they are very small compared to the world's most significant and most numerous best sellers. That is, of course, the Bible, estimated to have sold between 5 and 7 billion copies and been translated into over 2,000 languages. 

We might ask why the Bible is so widely distributed. One reason is the work of the Gideons (renamed "Good News for Everyone" in the UK), who place Bibles in the hands of school children and place them in hotels, prisons, hospitals and many other locations. However, it is the message which is so vital. It is a message of love, namely that God loves us and shows His love in the death of His Son for our sins. It is a message of hope assured and confident that all who believe in Christ will not perish but have everlasting life. To read the Bible is to cast light into our minds, souls and hearts, enabling us to hear God's voice. The Bible is God's message and reveals His heart to us. Why not read it today?

Written by PAUL YOUNG 


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