To find out what book takes the title of the most published and read book ever we can go to our trusty friends at Guinness World Records. They nominate the Bible as the best-selling book of all time with an estimated over 5 billion copies sold and distributed, over many decades. In reality, it is very difficult to know how many Bibles are actually produced and distributed and the 5 billion copies would be a conservative estimate. Not only is the Bible the most widely distributed and best-selling book in the world but has been translated into more than 349 languages.
The infographic above was produced by Jarred Fanning and his time period was for the last fifty years.
A student of the Bible will recognise many of the benefits that we enjoy in the Western world, come directly from this book.
To name a few;
- The six-day working week. God rested on the seventh day. This example is for our own benefit and wellbeing.
- Respect fathers, mothers and your elders, and those in authority. Authority figures include teacher and the police.
- Children obey your parents. WOW that sounds good!
- However, parents need to remember that their children are a gift from God. How do you look after and treat your gifts? There are many more instructions on how parents can help their children to flourish in the Bible. Everybody is a contributing member in the family relationship and in fact, any relationship.
- Do not murder. Of course, we do have those who believe an unborn child is of no value and more often than not, an inconvenience.
- Be faithful, supportive and encouraging to the person you marry. No domestic violence of any sort. It is all about encouraging and supporting each other.
- Do not steal, from anyone, even stealing time from your boss while at work.
- Don’t tell lies about other people or make unfair judgements about them. How hurtful it can be when you hear unflattering untruths about you or a member of your family.
- Be content with what you have and make the best of it. Of course, this does not mean that you do not try and better yourself and your situation. We should always be looking at how we can do things better. An encouragement to do something to improve your situation.
- Don’t envy what others have. This innate desire to buy more, to own more, to be infected by ‘consumerism’ will cause you all sorts of grief. Do not believe that because you own ‘stuff’ you will be happy and content and learn to live within your means.
These values and instructions come directly out of the Bible and there are many more instructions, that if embraced, will contribute in no small way to your personal and societal wellbeing. The fact is that Jesus himself has said that the reason he came was to give each person the most useful and purposeful life they could aspire too.
However, that might take some type of effort to purchase a Bible and study it to uncover these tried and proven Principles. By the way, if you think that the following of Jesus will make you healthy, wealthy and wise, you are in for a surprise. It could be, but mostly it is not. Many times, it is a call to be serving others at one’s own expense.
Followers of Jesus are not promised a life that will be without its problems, but he does say that he will be there to help us through those trials and tribulations. During our life here on earth, no one is exempt from the normal experiences of pain, heartache, disappointment, disillusionment and ultimately, death. These will be experienced by everyone.
The basis for a compassionate and humane society is the intent of the Ten Commandments, and surely that would be the goal of each one of us, to help create such an environment?
If all this historical and verifiable information is available, and the Bible is the most published and read book in all history, surely this book should have some prominence and some explanation for when our children are taught Australian and world history?
Sadly, ignorance of these teachings is generally caused by people not taking the time to investigate the Bible for themselves. They prefer ‘second hand’ instruction. To listen to those who twist the Scriptures to suit their own desires. Or they will read books written by people who don’t believe the authenticity of the Bible, instead of reading it themselves to know for sure. Of course, there is no end to those who would want to denigrate or mock the Bible. Many of the issues raised are due to either ignorance about the Bible, or a desire to refuse to acknowledge an Authority greater than ourselves?
As we near our conclusion, we sense that this is where controversy will become an issue.
The first four commandments of the original Ten Commandments, are concerned with showing proper respect toward God. These are the commandments that would be considered the most controversial in today’s secular and humanistic climate.
However over 2.3 billion people around the world, approximately 32% of the world’s population would have little problem embracing all of the Ten Commandments. Why? Because many have experienced the incredible benefits and personal wellbeing one experiences when we embrace wholly the teachings in the Bible.
The first four Commandments includes;
- Making God and his teachings paramount in our lives.
- Not replacing the God of the Bible with the god of money, fame, personal indulgence and power.
- One that would be difficult for many is to not use ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ as swear words or words of meaningless expression and insincerity.
- A time to be set aside to think about all the benefits that God has bestowed on you and your family.
In the Living Bible Jesus said, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness”. If you feel that the life you are now living does not give you purpose and satisfaction, maybe it is worth the time to buy or look online at what the Bible has to offer?
Maybe the pressures of life are such that to consider change is too hard? But maybe it will be very important for your children and their children? It is about choice.
Surely the Bible must be seriously considered when Australia celebrates World Book Day on the 23rd April 2018. And if you do obtain a copy to study, ask God to open your understanding to some of his marvelous truths.
Writer: Graham McDonald