What is the most interesting book in all the world? Perhaps different people would give different answers to this question. Boys might think of books describing the lives and actions of great men in history: the battles they fought, the brave deeds they did, and the wonderful things they accomplished. And girls might think of the life-story of some noble woman, less prominent on the world's stage but equally brave, and perhaps more useful and helpful to those with whom she came in contact.
But while such books are both interesting and helpful, yet there is ONE BOOK that far surpasses all others, not only as a book of history and narrative, but in every other way. That book is THE BIBLE.
In it are found stories of the very earliest times. The first of all stories and the most wonderful of all stories is found in the first Chapter of Genesis. There we read how God, in six days, prepared this world to be the habitation of men, providing for their use, with gracious care, every tree pleasant to the sight and good for food. Then, when our first parents had sinned and brought ruin and death into the fair scene, God in wonderful grace gave them the promise of a SAVIOUR.
Moreover, we know from the Bible that God will again prepare a new Heaven and a NEW EARTH wherein righteousness will dwell and into which sin cannot enter. Between the accounts of these two most wonderful events we find other stories of great and good men, brave and strong men, wise and noble men; of gentle and loving women, faithful and true women, kind and useful women.
All these stories of men and women who have lived for God are recorded for our example, for only those who are really good can ever be truly great.
But that which makes the Bible the book of supreme interest is that in it we find the wonderful STORY OF LOVE — the story of the Life and Death, the Resurrection, and Ascension to Heaven of our Lord Jesus Christ. All who know the Saviour love the Bible, for everything in it, in some way or other, speaks of Him. The Bible thus becomes to them a very precious possession. H. M. Stanley, the great explorer, when he set out to find Livingstone, took with him one hundred books to read while on his journey. As the difficulties of the march increased, and the loads of the carriers had to be lightened, everything not strictly necessary had to be thrown away. One by one the books followed, until ninety-nine out of the hundred had been left in the swamps of Central Africa, and only ONE remained. Which book do you think that was? It was the Bible. Stanley had selected the hundred most interesting books, but he found that the most interesting of all the hundred was the Word of God.
In our days Bibles are so common and so easily procured that we are apt to think that they have always been so. And while we are deeply thankful for an open Bible in our Protestant land, yet we do well to remember that England has not always been a Protestant country, and the following pages are an endeavour to trace how the Scriptures came to us, and what a noble Englishman did and suffered in order that we might be able to read the Scriptures in our own language.