The Bible is a very ancient book. Its antiquity is a wonder. It is a marvel that the Bible has remained until the present time. I am quite sure it would not have, had it not been that God had purposed that it should never be destroyed. Relatively few books survive the decade in which they are printed. Very, very few survive for a century. Their make-up is such that the elements tend to destroy them. Age and water rots them, insects eat them, careless handling destroys them, ink fades, and covers pull loose, but the Book of God remains.
The last book of the New Testament, Revelation, was written about 1875 years ago. Portions of the Bible, of course, are much older. The first five books of the Old Testament were written by Moses about 1500 B.C., making them nearly 3500 years old. The Book of Job was written even earlier, probably at least 2000 B.C. The Bible probably is the oldest antique you have, even if you are a collector of ancient and very rare objects. Go to your library, choose your oldest volume, and compare its age with that of the Bible. God has seen to it that His Word has not perished from the earth, because He has willed that it should abide forever.
The antiquity of the Bible would be a marvel had men throughout the ages cherished It, and taken the very best of care to preserve It. But such has not always been the case. The enemies of Christianity have realized that the kingdom of God could not exist without the seed of the kingdom. Therefore, they have concentrated their efforts against Christianity in the direction of destroying the Scriptures.
Even in the New Testament, we read of those who violently sought to overthrow the cause of Christ. We read of disciples dying a martyr’s death because of their faith. Early in the history of Christianity, Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Many martyrs are daily burned, crucified, and beheaded before our eyes.” For many years Christianity was outlawed by the Roman government. From the time of Trajan (reigned 98-117) until Constantine (c. 300), virtually every one of the Roman emperors was opposed to Christianity.
The Bible has had many enemies. Even those that professed on some occasions to be its friends under other circumstances turned enemy to it. During the middle ages, for example, the Roman Catholic Church burned thousands of copies of the Bible. But in spite of it, the Bible lives on. Voltaire, the noted French infidel, made his attempt to destroy the Bible. He boldly made the prediction that within one hundred years the Bible and Christianity would have been swept from existence into oblivion. But Voltaire’s efforts and his bold prophecy failed as miserably as did those of his unbelieving predecessors. In fact, within 100 years, the very printing press upon which Voltaire had printed his infidel literature, was being used to print copies of the Bible. And afterward, the very house in which the boasting Voltaire had lived, was literally stacked with Bibles prepared by the Geneva Bible Society. Voltaire and all his cohorts had miserably failed.
The fact is, the Bible is indestructible. In many passages the indestructibility of the Scriptures is pronounced. In 1 Pet. 1:24-25, we read: “All flesh is as grass, all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls: But the word of the Lord abides forever.” It will never cease to be. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).
When the heavens shall have passed away with a great noise, the elements melted with fervent heat, the earth and the works therein burned up, the Bible, the word of the Lord will yet remain. The Scriptures teach that the word of the Lord must remain until time is no more, and even through the Judgment, for by the word of God we shall be judged. Jesus said, “He that rejects me, and receives not my sayings, hath one that judges him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48). As John tells of the Judgment scene, he says, “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). The Scriptures teach that from the time that the word of the Lord was put in written form, until the Judgment, they shall never be destroyed. Truly, we can do nothing against the truth but for the truth (2 Cor 13:8). The doctrines of men die with the men who create them, but the Word of God lives on!