I’m so thankful for God’s word. What would I do without it?
On my shelf, I have a 38-volume set of the writings of the Church Fathers. I also have this resource in electronica format in the Logos application on my computer. It is a sizeable resource. I will never read all of these volumes, either in this life or in the life to come.
On the pages of these 38 volumes, there are enough quotations of the New Testament to reconstruct the entire New Testament if necessary. I’m not sure who counted them, but somebody has suggested that there are over one million quotations of the New Testament among the Church Fathers.
This tells me a couple of things. First, what the New Testament said was important to the Church Fathers. This is good because what they did and what we are doing to this day is based on New Testament authority.
Second, it tells me that God has preserved His Word. I am not even considering the five thousand plus copies of New Testament fragments on papyri(a paper made out of flattened plants) or vellum (paper made out of animal skin). Or the twenty-four thousand plus copies of translations of the Greek New Testament into other ancient languages. I’m just talking about quotes of the New Testament in the writings of the Church Fathers. One million plus of them!
Our Psalm for prayer this week says these words:
Psalm 130:5 (ESV)
5I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
As believers, we believe God because we believe his Word. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t say, “I believe God, but I don’t take what he says seriously.” Or “I don’t believe God is truthful, but I trust everything he says.” You can’t separate God from his Words.
I simply find it very encouraging to know that his Word is well attested. We know what he said because we have enough documented evidence to read what he said. Whether it be the fragmented copies pieced together from the existing manuscript evidence or quotes and allusions from the Church Fathers, we know what God said.
All my hope is in what God has said. I would not know that Christ died for me unless he told me. I would not know that my sins were forgiven through faith in Christ unless he told me. I would not know that he is a God of mercy and grace unless he told me.
These are the things on which I’m staking the safety of my eternal soul. It is my only hope. I’m so thankful that I have something tangible and concrete that I can hold and read.
So. Very .Thankful.