“GIVE ME THE BIBLE”
By Wayne S. Walker
How often have many of us sung the following gospel song in our worship assemblies?
“Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming,
To cheer the wanderer lone and tempest tossed;
No storm can hide that radiance peaceful beaming,
Since Jesus came to seek and save the lost.”
The words were written by Priscilla Jane Owens (1829-1907). The music was composed by Edmund Simon Lorenz (1854-1942). The hymn was first published in 1883 in Happy Voices for Sunday School.
The song draws much of its language from passages of Scripture like Psalm 119:101-105, which says, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This passage stresses the importance of the Bible to our lives here on earth. What are some reasons why I should be asking others to “Give me the Bible”?
It is a star to guide us in life. I am not very much up on modern navigational methods, but I know from my reading that in olden days sailors primarily used the stars to guide them in their journeys. In similar fashion, God used a star to guide the wise men to Jesus (Matthew 2:1-11). But why do we need guidance? The prophet Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Sometimes we may feel as if our lives are tempest tossed, like the apostles in the storm (Matthew 14:22-27). Just as Jesus came to the storm-driven ship, so the Bible points us to Jesus who came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). In a world of darkness where we frequently cannot see the path and do not know which way to turn, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12)
It is a light to show us salvation. All people face times when their heart is broken due to sin and feel like David who wrote, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me….The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:1-3, 17). However, in the Bible we have the words of the great salvation that were first spoken by Jesus and then confirmed to us by His inspired messengers (Hebrews 2:1-4). Thus we can be justified from sin by a faith that comes from this word (Romans 5:1, 10:17).
It is a lamp to enlighten our steps. Paul prayed for the saints in Ephesus, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18). We definitely need something to enlighten our eyes and to teach us the dangers of this realm below. God gave us the gospel for this purpose. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Hence, this lamp alone can show us how to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
It is a sun shining on the road to heaven. The Bible makes us wise for salvation and equips us with everything we need to prepare for heaven. “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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” (2 Timothy 3:15-17). It also reminds us that Jesus was raised from the dead and promises that we shall be too (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 20-23). Thus, it makes known the hope of a home with God in glory. ‘Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior” (Titus 1:1-3).
The chorus of the familiar song makes the request for direction from God’s word:
“Give me the Bible, holy message shining;
Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way;
Precept and promise, law and love combining,
Till night shall vanish in eternal day.”
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). If it is my desire to please God in this life and go to heaven when it is over, then my constant plea must be to “Give Me the Bible.”
—in Faith and Facts Quarterly, January, 2018; Vol. 15, No. 1; pp. 62-65