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Seeds of the Kingdom

Shakespeare and the Bible

by Ron Scurfield

We thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13, NIV

Shakespeare is probably the world’s most popular dramatist. His works are often compared to The King James Bible in their value of literary merit. Shakespeare’s works show the beauty and value of words. However, the Bible demonstrates the power of words. This power comes from the source of life itself - God.

Mahatma Gandhi describes the Bible as ‘a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet.’ And he cynically adds, ‘But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.’

The Bible describes the beginnings of the world and man’s relationship with God. It reveals a God’s eye view of man as he battles against God’s purposes. It tells of God, in human form, destroying the devil’s work and thereby restoring man’s relationship with Himself.

Like no other book there is a Spirit behind the words. It was written by many different writers, all inspired and directed by the Spirit of God. How else could human beings describe the beginnings of the earth, the creation of mankind and the wisdom of God - not to mention a revelation of the end times - without some divine inspiration?

Shakespeare weaves stories around the fictitious lives of his characters. The Bible describes man’s responses to the truth.

Throughout the Old Testament we see God’s heart, His frustration, anger, mercy and love. The New Testament brings the personification of God in Jesus Christ to reveal the word of life to the world. (John 14:6). The apostle John recognised this, and declared: ‘That which was from the beginning.. which we have seen with our eyes.. and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life’ (1 John 1:1). To the unbeliever these are just words. ‘The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him’. But, to the believer, ‘You know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you’ (John 14:17). The born again believer connects with the Spirit of God in the Scriptures and a relationship is established with the truth.

Shakespeare can stimulate our appreciation of fine literature by his way with words, but the Bible reveals the living Word. ‘The word of God is alive and active.’ (Hebrews 4:12). More than that, it has the power of life and death: ‘I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life’ (John 5:24).

‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’ (William Shakespeare: ‘Hamlet’).

And the answer? - ‘Choose life, so that you and your children may live’ (Deuteronomy 30:9). ‘And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.` (John 17:3).

The Bible is more than just a book of words. It’s the book of Life!

Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your Word. I pray that You might open my eyes to the power and relevance of Your Word to my life, that it becomes more than just words on a page, but truth and life to my soul. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ron Scurfield with his wife Jill, are part of the Associate Ministry Team at Ellel Grange and occasionally Ellel Scotland. Ron enjoys walking and writing and meeting interesting people, but his greatest joy is seeing God transform lives, setting people free to live the abundant life that Jesus intended.

 

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