He was my college classmate who voraciously studied the works of Shakespeare. Participating in our local college trivia bowls, his knowledge of the Bard was unrivaled. If the only category on a Jeopardy show was “Shakespeare” he would easily walk away as grand champion, and, in fact, he actually did compete on the fabled show, doing very well. In an interview with our college newspaper, he confided that he learned so many life lessons through his readings. It was his “Bible.”
I have always been impressed by writers and speakers who are able to adroitly quote a passage from a great work of literature to support their points. In fact, many great theologians and evangelists do the same with great success. Are there differences between the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and the Bible? Some would say no. Most great works of literature embody good ethical and moral themes, ones that can make us a better person if followed. Could any of these works be another Bible?
If I read “Hamlet” every day and memorized the entire text, what might be the outcome? I would certainly become quite knowledgeable in Danish history. I would learn about the complexities of many human emotions and desires. In fact, thousands of scholars, including Sigmund Freud, have expounded upon the profound themes and lessons for humanity that are found within its pages. Isn’t this enough to be the Bible for my life?
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
(1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV)
There are profound truths to be found in many great works of literature, including Shakespeare. However, the Bible is much more. The Bible is not simply a great work of literature, it is the sacred Word of God. The Bible was written by men directed by God, the Holy Spirit. In it, we learn why our human spirit so often surrenders to sinful desires like greed and lust. We learn the history of how civilizations came into existence and why the world is in its current condition. But most importantly, it is the roadmap to understand how we can have salvation and eternal life through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Unlike all other works of literature, the Bible gives us the definitive answer to how we can deal with the problem of sin, which has ruptured the sacred relationship between God and mankind. This is why the Bible is different.
Another Bible does not exist. There is only THE Bible, the sacred Word of God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.