One way in which the Bible is unique from other religious books is that it is the most popular book in the world despite a considerable amount of opposition waged against it. It has long been named the bestselling and most distributed book of all time. The Gideons International has distributed over 2 billion copies of the Bible and New Testaments since 1899 (www.gideons.org/about, accessed 8/11/21). In addition, the United Bible Societies distributed 160 million complete Bibles from 2010 to 2014 and 428 million Scripture portions in 2014 alone (https://ministry.americanbible.org/bible-distribution, accessed 8/11/21). The Guinness Book of World Records estimates that the Bible has been printed over 5 billion times (www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction, accessed 8/11/21).
The uniqueness of the Bible extends beyond its wide distribution, however. In many ways, the Bible is more than just another book.
The Bible is unique in authorship. Although the Holy Spirit is ultimately the author of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21), He used many human authors to compile the 66 books of the Bible. Around forty different human writers in the span of about 1,500 years were involved in the collection of Scripture. These writers came from different time periods, backgrounds, occupations, and geographical locations. The writers include kings, prophets, fishermen, shepherds, servants, priests, and a physician. This broad authorship explains the variety of writing styles. There is also a plethora of genres in the Bible, including poetry, prose, narrative, prophecy, and letter-style writing. The different authors and writing styles make the Bible unique from other religious books, and it’s stunning to realize that the entire canon of Scripture shares a common theme—God’s salvation of mankind—and points to a central character—Jesus Christ.
The Bible is unique in content. Numerous religious texts teach good morals and righteous ways of life. Unlike other religious texts advocating good works to please an unreachable god, the Bible uniquely teaches that salvation is a gift from God that does not require human works (Ephesians 2:8–9). Whereas other religious books present a set of rules and regulations to follow, the Bible presents freedom in Christ (John 8:36). The Bible reveals that Jesus is God (John 1:1) and that He saves us through His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). No other sacred book claims that a religious leader rose from the dead (Matthew 28:5–7; Luke 24:5–6; John 20:20; 1 Corinthians 15:4–8). The God of Scripture is not a far-off, uncaring god but the Creator of all things who is intimately involved in the lives of His creation (Psalm 139:7–12; Acts 17:25–27). No other religious text gives the assurance of eternal life (John 3:16). No other religion’s book is without error or flaw, but the Bible is inerrant and infallible (see 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The Bible is also unique from other religious books in that it contains prophecy. In fact, by one count, about 27 percent of the Bible is predictive (Payne, J. B., The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, Baker Pub. Group, 1980, p. 675). This means that, when written, over one fourth of the Bible—more than one in four verses—was prophetic. Hundreds of the Bible’s detailed prophecies have come true in literal fashion. No other religious book contains prophecy to this extent.
The Bible is unique in its language of writing. Most books are written in one language. For instance, the Quran of Islam was written completely in Arabic, Hinduism’s Vedas were composed entirely in Sanskrit, and the Book of Mormon was written entirely in English. In contrast, the Bible’s authors used three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
The Bible is unique in its compilation. The Old Testament Scriptures were written as the prophets of God received God’s word, with little to no reliance on oral history. The New Testament Scriptures were written by eyewitnesses to the events soon after the events took place, within the first century. The manuscript evidence for the New Testament is overwhelming. There are at least 5,300 Greek, 10,000 Latin, and 9,000 miscellaneous copies of the New Testament extant today. This is in stark contrast to other ancient works, such as Aristotle’s Poetics, which only has five manuscripts preserved dating over a thousand years after the original was written. The Quran has very few early manuscripts, as the process of recording the Quran was controlled by Islamic leaders who burned any copies that contained variant readings. The Hindu Vedas were passed down orally over thousands of years before being written down.
The Bible is unique in its results. God uses His Word, the Bible, to bring about the results of His choosing (Isaiah 55:11). One of those results is changed lives. Countless people give testimony around the world of freedom from substance abuse, destructive lifestyles, lying, stealing, habitual anger, etc., due to their following biblical principles and their faith in Jesus Christ.
Unique among all religious texts, the Bible stands alone in presenting Jesus Christ, God’s one-and-only Son, as the only way to salvation: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). Truly, there is no other book like the Bible.