“GIVE ME THE BIBLE”

Wayne S. Walker

TEXT:  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps.
119.101-105)

INTRO.:  Read TEXT.  A song which points us to the Bible as a lamp to our
feet and a light to our path is “Give Me The Bible” (#500 in “Hymns for
Worship Revised” and #501 in “Sacred Selections for the Church”).  The
text was written by Priscilla Jane Owens (1829-1907).  Perhaps her best
known hymn is “Jesus Saves.”  The tune (Grammata) was composed by Edmund
Simon Lorenz, who was born at North Lawrence, near Canal Fulton, OH, in
Stark County not far from Canton, on Juny 13, 1854, the son of missionary
to German immigrants in Ohio.  The Lorenz family were originally
Adventists who had emigrated from Messer, Russia, near Saratow.  Educated
at Otterbein University, Union Biblical Seminary of the United Brethren,
and Yale Theological Seminary, where he received the LL.D. degree, Edmund
also studied music at the University of Leipzig in Germany, where he
received at Mus. Doc. degree.  At the age of twenty, he was music editor
of the first United Brethren hymnbook with tunes, the 1874 “Hymns of the
Sanctuary and Social Worship.”

     It is not known precisely when this hymn was produced, but it was
probably around 1883 when it was first published in “Happy Voices for
Sunday School,” compiled by Lorenz for W. J. Shuey of Dayton, OH.  Lorenz
became a minister among the United Brethren and served the High St.
church in Dayton from 1884 to 1886.  During this time, he edited, along
with Isaiah Baltzell, “Gates of Praise” and “Notes of Triumph for the
Sunday School” for the United Brethren Publishing House.  After this he
was President of Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, from 1886 to
1888.  However, he suffered a complete collapse due to overwork and left
both church and college work because of his health.  Returning to Dayton,
he founded the music publishing firm of Lorenz and Company, which
published several periodicals, including “The Choir Leader” beginning in
1894, “The Choir Herald,” and “Kirchenchor,” both beginning in 1897.

     Lorenz’s published works include “Practical Church Music” in 1909,
“Church Music–What Every Minister Should Know About It” in 1923, “Music
in Work and Worship” in 1925, and “Practical Hymn Studies.”  Compiler of
several Sunday school song books, in 1935 he edited “The Church Hymnal:
the Official Hymnal of the United Brethren in Christ.”  His best known
work is “The Singing Church,” published in 1937, and he was in wide
demand as a lecturer on church music both in this country and abroad.  In
addition to editing Sunday school books, hymnals, and choir magazines, he
also wrote or arranged many hymns and tunes that have been used among
churches of Christ, including “Wonderful Love of Jesus” and “Thou
Thinkest, Lord, of Me.”  He died at Dayton on July 11, 1942.

     This hymn stresses the importance of the Bible to our lives here on
earth.

I. Stanza 1 teaches us that God’s word is a star of gladness gleaming
“Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming, To cheer the wanderer lone
and tempest-tossed;
No storm can hide that radiant peaceful beaming, Since Jesus came to seek
and save the lost.”
  A. Gid sent us His word to guide us to Jesus, just as He sent the start
to guide the wisemen to Jesus in Bethlehem: Matt. 2.1-2
  B. This word brings us cheer when we are lone and tempest tossed, just
as Jesus did to His apostles in the storm: Matt. 14.22-27
  C. The reason for this is that the word points us to Jesus who came to
seek and save the lost: Lk. 10.9

II. Stanza 2 teaches us that God’s word is a lamp of faith to show our
Savior near
“Give me the Bible when my heart is broken, When sin and grief have
filled my soul with fear;
Give me the precious words by Jesus spoken, Hold up faith’s lamp to show
my Savior near.”
  A. All people face times of trial when their hearts are broken and sin
and grief fill their souls with fear: 1 Pet. 2.12
  B. However, we have in the Bible the words by Jesus spoken, confirmed to
us by inspired messengers: Heb. 2.1-4
  C. Therefore, we can be sustained by a faith which will keep us
justified because it comes from His word: Rom. 5.1, 10.17

III. Stanza 3 teaches us that God’s word is a lamp which enlightens our
steps
“Give me the Bible, all my steps enlighten, Teach me the danger of these
realms below;
That lamp of safety o’er the gloom shall brighten, That light alone the
path of peace can show.”
  A. As we journey in these dark realms below, we need something to
enlighten our eyes: Eph. 1.18
  B. Thus, God gave us the light of the glorious gospel of Christ to
brighten the gloom: 2 Cor. 4.4
  C. This light alone can show us the strait and narrow pathway to peace:
Matt. 7.13-14

IV. Stanza 4 teaches us that God’s word is a lamp which guides us to
eternal life in heaven
“Give me the Bible, lamp of life immortal, Hold up that splendor by the
open grave;
Show me the light from heaven’s shining portal, Show me the glory gilding
Jordan’s wave.”
  A. The Bible is the lamp of life immortal because it is profitable to
equip us for everything that we need: 2 Tim. 3.14-17
  B. It shines its splendor by the open grave, reminding us that Jesus
Christ was raised from the dead and became the firstfruits of those who
sleep: 1 Cor. 15.20
  C. As a result, it makes known to us the hope of a home with God in
glory: Tit. 1.1-2

     CONCL.:  The chorus continues to make the request for direction from
God’s word:
“Give me the Bible, holy message shining, Thy light shall guide me in the
narrow way;
Precept and promise, law and love combining, Till night shall vanish in
eternal day.”
If it is my desire to please God in this life and go to heaven when it is
over, then my constant plea must be to “Give Me The Bible.”

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