Disturbing ………. that’s what I found this picture to be. I like Mark Twain’s stories and many of his other quotes ……….. but not this one.
Samuel Clemens loved the paddlewheel steamboat and he loved the river. As a matter of fact, it was during his years as a riverboat pilot that he chose his pen name, “Mark Twain.” It was a phrase called out by the leadsman, a person with a rope with a lead weight at the end, who checked to make sure the water was deep enough to travel by dropping it into the water to measure the depth. The phrase literally means “mark two,” the second mark on the measuring line that indicated that the water was 2 fathoms (12 feet) deep and safe to navigate. boatsafe.com
Although Mark Twain was a regular attender of a Presbyterian church, he did not accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God. “Twain stated that he believed in an almighty God, but not in any messages, revelations, holy scriptures such as the Bible, Providence, or retribution in the afterlife.” (Wikipedia – Mark Twain) To him, the Bible was nothing more than a book full of interesting stories with a few good morals thrown in.
Is this true? Is the Bible nothing more than a compelling lie? A book of noble poetry and clever fables? Stories with a few good morals?
If the Bible is the Word of God, as we profess, then there must be is a logical reason for God to have inspired its writing. According to Paul in Romans 10, it is the means by which God brings about salvation for all lost souls.
Romans 10:8-11, 17 (NIV)
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Granted, it is conceivable that God could have developed an alternative plan for bringing his message to the world. The stories and truths could have been passed down verbally. But who would have known if their sources were reliable? How could you verify their authenticity?
God chose instead to have his words recorded in the scriptures. They are the written version of his powerful, life-changing spoken words. It was by speaking with his mouth that God created the universe. It was by speaking that Jesus calmed the storm; by speaking he called Lazarus from the dead. Those same spoken words now live through the mouths of preachers and believers all over the world who learned the message by studying what was recorded in the pages of the Bible.
Faith combined with the message of God’s Word is the recipe for salvation. Outside of faith, they are nothing more than letters printed on a page …… poetry, clever fables.
Compelling lies? Sorry Mr. Twain, I think not. The Word of God? Yes, that’s what I believe.
My mug is up. Here’s to a promising day of speaking and believing what I know is true because of the faith in me that confirms that scripture really is God’s Word.