“No Book Like the Bible”

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…" (Josh. 1.8)

     INTRO.: A song which encourages us to meditate day and night upon the God’s book is "No Book Like the Bible." Right after I began preaching, my grandfather, Glen Workman, also a gospel preacher who had previously worked with the Mt. Zion church of Christ near Belfast in rural Highland County, OH, where I grew up, but by then had retired because of my grandmother’s ill health and moved into nearby Hillsboro, OH, gave me all his books. In an old commentary (I think it was one from his set by Albert Barnes), there was a newspaper clipping under the heading "Household Reading" simply entitled "The Bible" with no author’s name. I have reprinted that poem in the bulletin of nearly every congregation with which I have worked. Going back through those old bulletins, I found that the first publication was on June 6, 1976, when I was located in Warrenton, MO. Imagine my surprise many years later when leafing through the pages of an old hymnbook I came across a hymn, which is practically identical with poem of the newspaper clipping.

     The text is attributed to Minnie Karns.  I had been unable to find any information on this author, but further research indicates that this was a penname for Frances Jane Crosby VanAlstyne, known better by her professional name Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915).  It was first published in the 1879 Gospel Praise Book with an tune by the editor Asa Hull.  The tune in the book I saw was composed by J. S. Hendricks. It was copyrighted in 1900. Beyond these facts, I have no further information about the song. Internet searches on the composer turned up nothing useful. There are a few differences in wording between the newspaper clipping and the song.  The poem was obviously produced prior to 1900 when Hendricks saw it and provided music for it. He may have made some changes in the words, or as the poem was passed along by word of mouth and reprinted from memory, various alterations may have occurred naturally. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ (or any other books in my collection for that matter), the only one in which I have seen the song is the 1923 Choice Gospel Hymns edited by Thomas B. Mosley for the Gospel Advocate Co. of Nashville, TN.

     The song emphasizes the importance that the Bible has played in history and should play in our lives.

I. Stanza 1 tells us what the Bible is
"No book is like the Bible, For children (childhood), youth, and age;
Our duty, plain and simple, We find on every page.
It came from God in heaven (by inspiration), A light to guide our way,
A voice from Him who gave it, Reproving when we stray."
 A. The Bible or scripture is a revelation by inspiration from God in heaven: 2 Tim. 3.16-17
 B. As such, it is a guide for our way by being a lamp to our feet and a light to our path: Ps. 119.105
 C. Also, when preached it is a voice that reproves, rebukes, and exhorts us: 2 Tim. 4.2

II. Stanza 2 tells us what the Bible says
"It tells of man’s creation, His sad primeval fall;
It tells of man’s redemption, Through Christ, who died for all.
In sacred words of wisdom, It bids us watch and pray,
And early come to Jesus, the Life, the Truth, the Way."
 A. The Bible says that God created man in His own image: Gen. 1.26-27
 B. It also says that God provides redemption for man through the blood of Christ: Eph. 1.7
 C. Thus, it says that we must come to God through Christ, the Life, Truth, and Way: Jn. 14.6

III. Stanza 3 tells us what the Bible does
"Oh, let us love the Bible, And prize (praise) it more and more;
Our life is like a shadow, Our days will soon be o’er.
But if we closely follow The counsel God has given,
We then (Then we) may hope with angels To sing His praise in heaven."
 A. God’s word, the Bible, is something that we should love: Ps. 119.97
 B. This is especially important because our life is like a shadow that will soon be gone: 1 Chron. 29.15
 C. However, if we follow the counsel that God has given in this book, we can travel the strait and narrow pathway that leads to eternal life in heaven: Matt. 7.13-14

     CONCL.: When preparing this hymn study, I looked through my books and files for the original newspaper clipping and cannot seem to find it.  I hope that it has not been lost in the hustle and bustle of the last six moves, but even if it is, I still thankfully have the bulletins in which I reprinted it. Whether in song or simply in poem form, these wonderful words remind us that there is "No Book Like the Bible."


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