Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
Last week I came across a website that had a list of the most widely read books in the world over the last 50 years. The author of the website wrote that the numbers reveal the quantities of books printed and sold.
The list goes like this:
10. “Diary of Anne Frank” by Anne Frank
9. Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”
8. “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell
7. Stephenie Meyer’s “The Twilight Saga”
6. “The Da Vinci Code,” written by Dan Brown
5. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
4. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling
2. “Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung”
1. The Bible
The best-selling book of all time still remains the Bible since Gutenberg first made it available in the 1450’s with his ingenious press. Yet, why over the centuries has the Bible remained the best selling book? Some may say that the Bible is for the ignorant masses who can understand it better than books like “Think and Grow Rich.” Is it that the common folk cannot comprehend The Alchemist or that working class people cannot grasp the depths of “The Da Vinci Code?”
I contend that the reason the Bible has remained the best selling book is because between its covers are all the answers to life’s deep questions that lay heavy on our minds and hearts. Whether we are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, known or unknown, esteemed or mocked, the Bible has meaning and answers for all those who have questions about this mortal life.
What are those common questions?
“What is our hope for this life and beyond?” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
“What is truth?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ( John 14:6)
“Why is there evil in the world?” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
“Is there a way out of this condition?” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — (Ephesians 2:8)
“Where did it all begin?” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
“Why should I not fear the future?” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
“How can I have peace for the future?” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
When one is on her deathbed, she will not say, “Bring me my copy of Lord of the Rings so I will feel better about dying.” Rhett Butler’s comment in “Gone with the Wind” about not giving a damn does not bring reassurance in the great crisis times of life. Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” contains no words to comfort the brokenhearted. “Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung” certainly will not make us feel more secure about our future.
The Psalmist wrote centuries ago: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105) Those words are still true because the facts prove it.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: