According to Guinness World Records: “The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible. It is impossible to know exactly how many copies have been printed in the roughly 1500 years since its contents were standardized, but research conducted by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 2021 suggests that the total number probably lies between 5 and 7 billion copies” (https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com)
That is a lot of Bibles, but according to Guinness World Records it is only an estimate for several reasons the biggest being no records had been kept in the early years especially before the printing press had been invented.
The Old Testament part of the Bible was started by Moses, who God had write the first five Books (Luke 24:44) and the last Book God had written by Malachi the prophet. The New Testament part of the Bible was written during the forty-year period of time from the start of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 3:23) until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (See Numbers 32:13 and Micah 7:15), this being the period of time for spiritual gifts (2 Peter 1:20-21). With this in mind Guinness World Records is certainly correct in saying there is no way of knowing how many Bibles (or individual Bible Books) were written and either distributed at no cost or sold. Where Guinness World Records is off is in the number of years, they say the contents of the Bible was “standardized” which they have at 1500 years but the total number of years from A.D. 70 until 2022 is 1952 years. The Bible has been a complete Book for 1952 years. Their use of the words “Christian Bible” is vague since there were no Christians in the Old Testament and none in the New Testament until Acts 2:41 (see Acts 11:26).
God said He wants no additions and no subtractions from His Bible (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6, 1 Corinthians 4:6, Revelation 22:18-19). We call it God’s Bible because He had His words written by men through inspiration: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). KJV
Jesus tells us how the words of God came to us: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:48-50) NKJV
Why Should I Read and Study the Bible?
That is a fair question. In my lifetime (67 years and counting) the Bible has become less valuable to most people than it has been in the past. The Bible has been taken out of the school and therefore out of the mind by eliminating it from the reading curriculum. I have a friend that was criticized and made fun of because he had and read a Bible in school (in the town I was born in). Not so in the past. Sir Isaac Newton said: ‘I find more sure marks of authority in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.” Thomas Jefferson said: “I have always said, I always say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.” Abraham Lincoln said: “This great book…is the best gift God has given to man…But for it we could not know right from wrong.”
The Bible has been the target of elimination since the day it has been completed. For example, William Tyndale was a preacher and a member of the Bow Lane church of Christ in London, England (Traces of the Kingdom p.284). William Tyndale was betrayed by a ‘friend,” tried on a charge of heresy in A.D. 1536 at Antwerp, where he was condemned to burn at the stake. On October 6, 1536 he was strangled to death and then burned. His crime was translating the Bible from the Koine Greek (Erasmus text) into English. His final words were reportedly “Oh Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” (Traces of the Kingdom pg. 289-290).
Why do so many either treat the Bible with indifference or totally want it gone for good? It seems most people want total freedom from any kind of law, or anything in which someone (in this case Someone) is telling them what they should do or what they should not do. That is exactly what the Bible is. God is giving His created beings guidance and direction to make their lives better. MUCH better. That is why you need to study the Bible.
Think about this: if everyone would dedicate their lives to reading, studying, and following what God is directing them to do in the Bible, everyone would have a better life. MUCH better. How? There would be no murder, stealing, computer hacking or any other crime whatsoever. None. We would be not only looking out for ourselves but would be looking out for the care and welfare of others treating them as good as we treat our selves (see Philippians 2:3-4, James 2:8). That is compelling evidence that the Bible IS the Word of God.
God required fathers and mothers in Israel to teach His words to their children at an early age and this teaching was to be done on a daily basis, which means the parents would have to know them (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9). God required human kings of Israel to have their own copy of the law (first five Books of the Bible) and to read from it on a daily basis (see Deuteronomy 17:18-20). In the New Testament God requires daily, diligent Bible study: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. (2 Timothy 2:15-16) NKJV God tells us to read and study His Bible and put that information in our memories for daily use.
The reason for Bible study is to be doing what God wants. He alone knows what is best for us. If everyone did what God directs all people to do, we would have a MUCH better world to live in.
We at the Douglas County church of Christ have Bible studies for all ages. We study the Old Testament Book by Book on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. and the New Testament Book by Book on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. We would like to see you at our Bible studies and will even set up a personal Bible study for you at your convenience. We also have many Bible study aids you can take at absolutely no cost to you. If you do not live in the area, we will either send materials to you or set you up with an internet study.
Bible study is important. God requires it. Bible study will help you have a better life. MUCH better!