THE QUEEN’S DIAMOND JUBILEE
and the Queen's Bible
by Timothy Cross
In June 2012, here in the UK, we are having a time of celebration. We are celebrating our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for sixty years, from 1952 to 2012. Prime Ministers have all come and gone, but the Queen has remained. She has been one of the few constants in the life of our tumultuous nation.
Did you know that at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland presented her with a Bible? ‘Our gracious Queen,’ said the Archbishop. ‘To keep your Majesty ever mindful of the Law and Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords.’ Then the Moderator added ‘Here is wisdom, this is the royal law, these are the lively oracles of God.’
I have a copy of the Bible on my desk here as I write. It is leather bound and inscribed by my mother to me. But is it really ‘the most valuable thing that this world affords’? It surely is. Consider (1) The Majesty of the Bible and (2) The Message of the Bible.
(1) The Majesty of the Bible
The Bible is an incomparable Book, because it is nothing less than the written Word of God. As the Book of God it is the God of all books. The ultimate Author of Scripture is God Himself. Amazingly, the invisible, otherwise unknowable God has revealed Himself to us – revealed Himself in writing. Christians believe in divine revelation. The special revelation which God has made known of Himself is in His Word, the Holy Bible.
In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.’ The words ‘inspired by God’ here are one word in the Greek, the word ‘theoneustos.’ The word may be translated as ‘God-breathed.’ The verse is teaching us that Scripture is the product of divine inspiration. Almighty god, by His Spirit moved and worked on the human authors of Scripture so that they wrote accurately and inerrantly just what He wishes them to so say to us. ‘No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God’ (2 Peter 1:21).
The Bible then is nothing less than the divinely inspired Word of God. As such it demands our attention like no other book. How we should read it, heed it, study it, learn it, love it and obey it. It is our Maker’s instruction manual. It gives us the secret of a happy life, a happy death and a happy eternity. The majesty of the Bible.
(2) The Message of the Bible
The Bible is a vast Book of sixty six books. Yet it has but one message.
First of all, the Bible reveals that there is only one God. ‘The LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King’ (Jeremiah 10:10). ‘I am the LORD and there is no other, besides Me there is no God’ (Isaiah 45:5). This one God, revealed in the Bible, is responsible for all that there is, for He made all things. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1).
Secondly, the Bible reveals that the one true God is holy and just. He thus cannot tolerate sin. Habakkuk 1:13 describes Him as ‘Thou Who art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on wrong.’ Sin is an affront to His nature and a rebellion against His authority. He can thus only punish sin or pardon it justly.
Thirdly, and most wonderfully however, the Bible reveals that God, in His wisdom and grace, provided a way for sinners to be saved from His holy wrath against sin. He sent His only Son into the world to die on a cross in their place, suffering the punishment that was their due to save them from that punishment and restore them to a right relationship with Himself. John 3:16 is perhaps the most famous verse of the Bible – and justly so, for John 3:16 actually encapsulates the message of the Bible in a nutshell: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.’
Fourthly, the Bible has an evangelistic thrust and summons. It warns us that Jesus, God’s one and only Son, is the only Saviour of sinners. Apart from Him we are lost and condemned. And so the Bible exhorts us urgently to avail ourselves of the salvation Jesus procured at Calvary. ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). ‘He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him’ (John 3:36).
So ‘this Book’ really is ‘the most valuable thing that this world affords.’ There is no book like the Bible. Its majesty stems from its being the very Word of the living God. Its message is like no other, for its message is the Good News of salvation – salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.’
Holy Bible, book divine
Precious treasure thou art mine
Mine to tell me whence I came
Mine to teach me what I am
Mine to chide me when I rove
Mine to show a Saviour’s love
Mine thou art to guide and guard
Mine to punish or reward
Mine to comfort in distress
Suffering in this wilderness
Mine to show by living faith
Man can triumph over death
Mine to tell of joys to come
And the rebel sinner’s doom
O thou holy Book divine
Precious treasure, thou art mine
(John Burton, 1773-1822).
Timothy CrossLast Update: 2013-08-12 16:41