The Most Powerful Single Volume
Used book sales often are the source of some great treasurers purchased at minimal prices. Such was the case when I made a visit to an annual Fall book sale that uncovered several good finds including one titled, Books that Made the Difference, a twenty year old study conducted by a husband-wife team, Gordon and Patricia Sabine, both university journalism professors. The Sabine’s travelled the country and interviewed some 1,400 Americans with regard to two questions: (1) What book made the greatest difference in your life? (2) What was the difference? The results of 200 of these interview were then published under the above title in a book sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
The Bible was the most-named book. McGeorge Bundy, former Harvard dean, and former special assistant for national affairs to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, called the New Testament “. . . the most powerful single volume you encounter” (62).
The Baroness Maria von Trapp, of Stowe, Vermont, upon whose family story The Sound of Music was based, said:
I grew up in Austria and took the Bible for granted, except I didn’t read it. It was there, and I was there, but I didn’t have any real connection with it.
I don’t remember why, but I do remember how one day when I was in my late twenties, I opened the Bible and was just amazed. I couldn’t stop reading. I started in the New Testament, and then went back to the Old, and there I found with growing excitement the answers to all the questions—how it all started, what is the most important thing in life. It is all there.
It’s like a beacon to get your connections from. (63)
The Bible—Truly The Book that makes the greatest difference because It Is different; Beyond all other books as a river is beyond a drop of water, as the Sun is beyond a candle, and as a mountain is beyond a grain of sand. It takes the pain out of parting, the gloom out of the grave, and gives us a hope that is steadfast and sure.
This BOOK contains—the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are unchangeable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.
Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents. (Author Unknown)