The Bible as Literature, Brief Bible Studies, Lesson 2, Brief History of the Bible, Part III

The writers of the Bible were not learned men, as we use that term today. But, their great works have lived and have been read as have no others. Wouldn’t you say these men had a divine inspiration from God to have done these deeds? This was because they have been received as the word of God. But part of the reason is the beauty of the writings and translation. Not long ago, it would have been a great offense to speak of the beauty of style of the Holy Bible. In Puritan times, beauty was apt to be thought of as sinful and as having no connection with spiritual things. Men believed the Bible was too sacred to be studied as other books are studied. They saw a holy character even in the paper on which it was printed, and in the covers in which it was bound.

In recent years, the Bible has been studied for its beautiful style. English literature is full of references to the Bible. Entire novels have been written about Biblical characters. But it is the style of the Bible itself which has drawn most praise and admiration from the English-speaking world. The Bible has a beautiful style in all languages. Its sentences often have a natural rise and fall with each part balanced against each other, as in this example: “He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand; he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.” Its words call vivid pictures to the mind: “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.” It has many phrases, such as, “And Abraham was old and full of days”, which has a special charm. Many of these phrases are repeated like the refrain of a song. The King James Version was completed during one of the greatest periods in the history of English literature. This fact accounts for much of the beauty of its style.

The Bible contains war songs, laments, proverbs, prayers and poetry. Its stories of battles are exciting.

The Bible helps to present truth in story form. Many parts of it were written by simple and child-like men. They did not want to use high-sounding words or phrases. They merely wanted to tell their stories simply and directly. This is one reason why the Bible appeals so strongly to children.


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