I’ve only read one perfect book in my lifetime.
Collecting books copyrighted before 1940 is a hobby of mine. So far, I’ve managed to amass several bookshelves full of them. My oldest is a theology book from the early 1800s and is in excellent condition. Knowing the man who once had this book in his library—as well as seeing the sticker that says it was once housed in a Charleston, South Carolina, library—probably explains its excellent condition. I love the smell of old books, and I’m amazed at how paper can hold up for extended periods of time.
My favorite pastime at night is kicking back in my recliner with an enjoyable book. Working a full-time job and several part-time jobs makes this challenging, but I still yearn for those few moments when I can dive into a thought-provoking article or simply get lost in a historical novel.
Printed books, however, don’t last forever. What they are made of will deteriorate over time—even if rebound. One day, my 200-year-old theology book will bite the dust. E-books may hang around until Christ returns, but printed books will wear out.
When the psalmist wrote the following words, the Bible had not been canonized into sixty-six books. “The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul” (Psalm 19:7 NLT). What he had, though, was perfect and revived his soul.
Among my old book collection are a number of Bibles. Some are old and fragile and belonged to family members. Some are missing covers. Others I purchased from various thrift stores. If time continues, one day they will deteriorate completely, or someone will discard them.
But Bibles deteriorating and being thrown away doesn’t destroy God’s words. Books can go out of print and become extinct; God’s Word never will.
God’s Word was spoken and transmitted orally for many years before it was written down.
Not being on papyrus didn’t take away from its pertinence or reliability. Should it ever go out of print, it will remain perfect, reliable, and applicable. I’ve read portions of history books that were presently “wrong” because of historical changes, but God’s Word will forever remain right.
And anything that is perfect possesses the capacity to revive my soul.
Read, apply, and transfer God’s Word. Let it revive your soul.
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