As we celebrate Heritage Day, we tap into a day when diversity of language, culture and the like is celebrated but also consider how this diversity can help us build a cohesive nation. It shows that variety and unity are not mutually exclusive.
The Bible has a diverse number of authors contributing to the greatest book ever written. Men of different epochs, cultures and tongues possessing a range of writing styles, yet coming together to create a harmonious masterpiece. The Bible also reflects the Church (Ecclesia) that is filled with individuals who have different talents and gifts to contribute and nobody is insignificant to God (1 Corinthians 12:12-19, Romans 12: 4-8,16).
So how can we as Christians also leave a significant legacy? When we look at the life of Christ, he left the men he trained behind to change the world and asked them to teach all he commanded them everywhere (Mt 28:18-20). Today, we can walk in the steps of our Saviour and learn from his apostles and prophets who had collectively penned the Bible. We can make disciples using this Tool known as the sword of the Spirit, the word of GOD. (Ephesians 6: 17).
The world at large is peppered with unbelief and certainly not without sceptics. The reputation of the Bible, though, has remained intact over centuries. In John 1: 1 we read that Jesus was the Word of God. In Revelation 19:13, we see that in the end Jesus is described as the Word of God. Can we believe Jesus? Does he speak the truth? Was deceit ever found in him? Can we trust the Bible?
Countless verses in both Testaments attest to the Bible’s authority and that it is breathed by God, as 2 Timothy 3:16 indicates. Furthermore, 2 Peter 1:21 states that: For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Similarly, John 16:13 and John 14:17 confirm the Spirit of truth.
Jesus, God in the flesh, often quoted from the Old Testament and when he engaged the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he used it to explain what was said about him in all of Scripture (Luke 24:25-27). The Teacher of teachers gave them one of the greatest lessons from the Old Testament in history. Certainly, Jesus believes that it is the inerrant and authoritative word of God. In addition, there have been instances when some revered scholars and scientists, when confronted with the truth of the Bible, have changed their minds and acknowledged its veracity and that there is indeed a God.
Finally, the night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed and said that the word is truth (John 17:17). Christ came to fulfil the Scriptures and truly the Word of God lived every word. Someday, all of us will bow before him, and in eternity, every nation will be represented before the throne of God (Philippians 2:10 and Revelation 7:9). Though Jesus died in the flesh – his words will last forever, a living legacy for us, men and women of every nation, who use it as a dynamic guide through our life’s journey.
The Bible Society of South Africa is proud to be part of such an awe-inspiring legacy. We are committed to the translation, publication and distribution of this life-changing Book. We have already translated the Bible in different languages for all South Africans. We also have Bibles in a variety of formats in order to provide for the needs of the visually impaired, deaf and for those who are astute digitally. We also have a literacy project that aims to promote both basic and Bible literacy.
We are honoured to be part of such a noble tradition and have been in South Africa for nearly 200 years.