1500 Years, 66 Books, 40 Writers - One Divine Author

How many of you have heard of the book, Scarlett? Though you may not have heard of it, it made the New York Times bestseller list immediately when it debuted in 1991 and sold millions of copies and remains in print today. Scarlett was the officially sanctioned sequel to Gone With The Wind, the beloved Margaret Mitchell novel I am sure all of us know well; if not the book, the movie. Despite being a best-seller, Scarlett was universally panned by critics with one calling it a “stunningly uneventful 823-page holding action.” Ouch. It was said that the estate of the late Margaret Mitchell was “thoroughly embarrassed” by Scarlett. I take that to mean they did not like it very much.

If Gone With the Wind was a literary masterpiece, why was Scarlett a literary disaster? I mean, it is just a continuation of a well-known story, correct? The answer will be obvious. Scarlett was not written by Margaret Mitchell; it was written by Alexandra Ripley. Ms. Ripley did not have the mind or imagination or writing ability or literary talent of Margaret Mitchell. Life at Tara with Scarlett O’Hara, Ashley Wilkes, Rhett Butler, and the entire cast of Gone With the Wind lived in the mind of Margaret Mitchell, not Alexandra Ripley. When Ms. Ripley tried to carry on the story, it lacked what only Margaret Mitchell could give it, her imagination and writing talent. Scarlett is not the only example of sequels written by someone other than the original novel’s author that went on to literary infamy. Great sequels to great books can only be written by the author of the original because the entire story exists in the mind of one person, the original author. Another mind cannot continue where one mind left off.

Yet, we know of a collection of 66 different books, written by 40 different authors, that not only makes complete sense from beginning to end but is also inerrant and infallible? It consists of an Old Testament of 39 books that point to a coming Messiah, or Savior, and another 27 New Testament books made up of four Gospels, which reveal the Savior to us, the Acts of the Apostles, which tells us of the Holy Spirit moving in the early days of the Church, 21 Epistles, which explain the Savior, and a final book of Revelation, which tells us of His future return. The Holy Bible’s 66 books tell us the beautiful story of salvation, the most beautiful story ever told, and tells it infallibly.

Well, how can this be? How can 40 different human authors have written this Book we call the Bible and have everything - from Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” to Revelation 22:21, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen,” – everything, all in total concert and, not only that, be inerrant (not in error) and infallible (incapable of error)? Alexandra Ripley could not write even one book, probably not even one chapter, that could stand next to Gone With the Wind! How could 40 different authors, over about 1500 years, write something so complete and so powerful and so wonderful?

Dear Christian, although the Bible has 40 different human authors, these men were moved by just one mind, one Divine author, the Holy Spirit. He moved these men to pen the 66 books of the Bible. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy that “all Scripture is breathed out by God…” and in 1 Corinthians, “…we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit…”. Peter tells us in 2 Peter, “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” They spoke in their own literary voices and with their own writing styles but were “carried along,” as Peter tells us, “by the Holy Spirit.” When we read the Bible, we are reading the Word of Almighty God, perfect and undefiled, written by imperfect men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. A miracle indeed, and its sequel of eternal glory we as believers will experience will be perfect in its completeness.

I am reminded of the 42nd Psalm, “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. When may I come and appear in God’s presence?” Well, brothers and sisters, we appear in God’s presence through the daily reading of His Word, by daily devotions, by weekly worship with our Redeemer family, and by attending weekly Bible study. Grow your faith through the Word of God!

The perfect Word of God.
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