A Unique Book, Especially for Leaders
“of the making of books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” Ecclesiastes
It is difficult to calculate the number of books that have been produced in the 5,000 years of recorded history, but the number would be staggering. Of all those books, God’s Word is the most unique! The word unique means ‘better than all others’ and indeed that can be said of the Bible. With over 4 billion copies in print (an estimate) this is the most printed book of all time. It has been translated into more languages
and dialects that any other book. God’s Word is also unique in so many other ways, such as it’s stories, it varied literary genres, its impact on countless lives and its survivability against incredible odds.
The Roman Empire is the backdrop of the New Testament and for our incredible survivability story. One of Rome’s emperors, Diocletian (243-316 A.D.) devised an idea of destroying the most unique book and faith in history. During Diocletian’s reign he separated powers and ruled from the city of Nicomedia, moving the power base from Rome. He shared his power with a co-regent, Maximian. These two began their rule
showing some favor to the Christian faith. However, in 303 A.D., Diocletian outlawed Christianity and was successful in moving Maximian to that view. Manuscripts of the fledgling faith were rounded up and destroyed. Thousands of those who were ‘Followers of the Way’ were slaughtered. After two years of tyranny, Diocletian
erected a column commemorating his victory over Christianity with the inscription, Extincto nominee Christianorum – “Extinct is the name of Christians.” A coin was also minted that celebrated this systematic removal of Christianity and bore the inscription, ‘the Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the gods destroyed’.
But the unique survivability of God’s Word stood this strongest test. The Emperor that followed this despot was Constantine. Some 20 years after the pronouncement that Christianity had been eradicated, Constantine had a vision that God would fight on his
behalf (Conquer by this). Constantine’s conversion is recorded by Eusebuis and shares that Constantine believed God would battle on his behalf. A spear was designed as part of the Emperor’s vision and contained two large letters that represented Christ, a letter
‘P’ with the letter ‘X’ crossing the lower portion of the P. Constantine also built the city, Constantinople, which became a scriptorium—a place which protects and copies the scriptures. In 313 A.D., Constantine proclaimed the Christian faith the official
faith of his empire and commissioned copies of the scriptures. Eusebius was to prepare these copies at government expense. The most remarkable aspect of this history is that over fifty copies of the ‘outlawed’ scriptures came out from hiding within a day of this edict!
Now let’s focus our attention to the greatest story of survivability in the Word of God. It is found in Jeremiah 36:21-32. When you read this extraordinary recollection of the preservation of holy writ you will be amazed at the God Who has preserved this story.
This story illustrates the movement of God upon the authors of scripture. Jeremiah was inspired to dictate words that were to cause repentance. However, the scrolls were burned by King Jehoiakim. Judgment was metered out to Jehoiakim for his disrespect of God’s Word. We are then told that God moved again upon the Prophet and the words are miraculously replicated and preserved through time (“so Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch, son of Neriah. As Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote all his words on the scroll” Jeremiah 36:32). God’s Word may be destroyed by fire
but its destruction isn’t permanent, rather it accomplishes that which is ordained by God (I Peter 1:23).
It is estimated that only ½ of one percent of all books last over seven years
from their publication. Review the scripture cited at the opening of this
article from Ecclesiastes. Most books aren’t worth the paper they are printed
as testified by a visit to a local bookstore. Most books make little or no
impact on the hearts and minds of its readers. Most books don’t have the
answers to the big questions of life. No books are protected by the hand of
God, as is the Bible. No book gives the story of God’s plan for all mankind
and the hope that is in Christ. Cherish this, the most unique book in history,
Dear leader, do you realize the value of the Scriptures in your leadership? I’m all for reading books about leadership, but I want the Book of Books to permeate my heart and mind since the greatest leader who ever lived is its author, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Know the wisdom and power of God in your leading, since you might be missing out in your greatest leadership season, one which leads like Jesus.