The Everlasting Bible

Charles C. Pugh, III

The nineteenth stanza of Psalm 119 concludes with the Psalmist affirming the everlasting nature of the law of God. He says, “Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever” (v. 152). In the section immediately preceding, he wrote, “the righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting …” (v. 144). Alexander renders verse 152 with the following: “Long have I known from thy testimonies (themselves) that thou unto eternity hast founded them” (The Psalms Translated and Explained, 503). The Bible has a self-evidencing nature to the effect that it consists not of merely “passing or temporary enactments, but eternal laws” (G. Rawlinson. “The Book of Psalms: Exposition.” Vol. 3. Pulpit Commentary. Vol. 8. 112). Here is the “everlasting stability of God’s testimonies” (David Dickson. A Commentary on the Psalms, 400). Biblical revelation makes this claim of its eternal, everlasting nature: “… [T]he word of God … lives and abides forever, because all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever” (2 Peter 1:23-25; cf. Isaiah 40:6-8).

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). It is the case that the Bible records these statements concerning the eternality of its message, and those who truly know the Bible recognize the self-evidencing nature of this claim. However, the indestructibility of the Bible, as evidenced from history, sustains the biblical claim and the experience of those who, as the Psalmist, can say, “I have known of old that You have founded them [Your testimonies] forever” (Psalm 119:152).

As evidence of the remarkable continued survival of the Bible, I cite data from a twenty-first century (2001) book authored by a world renowned manuscript scholar. Christopher de Hamel, whose book History of Illuminated Manuscripts (1994) is a standard work in its field, is a scrupulous scholar. In the early part of this decade, he also authored what has been described as an “utterly gripping account of the world’s most remarkable book [the Bible]” (jacket). The Book: A History of the Bible is an original and authoritative account of the survival of the Bible during its “extraordinary journey through history” (jacket). Writing as an historian who is an expert in ancient manuscripts, De Hamel, in this scholarly, readable, unique books says: “[A]ll evidence confirms that the text of the Christian Bible as we have it today has been maintained and transmitted with extraordinary accuracy. … No significant variations or deliberate falsifications have ever been found to shake public confidence in the Bible as a whole. No other text of comparable antiquity has come down to us with so few uncertainties about its transmission …” (319-20, 329).

Truly, the Bible is The Book uniquely secure with a message that has an eternal existence. Two thousand years of history evidence the unique indestructibility of the Bible. We believe the objective mind concludes that the Bible’s continued survival, in light of all to which it has been subjected from the negative side, evidences it is the result of a supernatural source (i.e. God). “Concerning Your testimonies I have known of old that You have founded them forever” (Psalm 119:152). -1601 31st St., Vienna, WV 26105.

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