Great Bible Poems



I supposed I knew the Bible,
Reading piece-meal, hit or miss;
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis.

Certain chapters of Isaiah,
Certain Psalms–the twenty-third!
Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs
Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

But I found that thorough reading Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel aweary,
And yawn through a hurried prayer,

You who treat the Crown of Writings,
As you treat no other book,
–Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look.

Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.
—Amos R. Wells


Born in the East and clothed in oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere.

It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the hearts of men.

It comes into the palace to tell the monarch that he is a servant of the Most High, and into the cottage to assure the peasant that he is a son of God.

Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life.

It has a word of peace for the time of peril, a word of comfort for the time of calamity, a word of light for the hour of darkness.

Its oracles are repeated in the assembly of the people and its counsels whispered in the ear of the lonely.

The wicked and the proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and the penitent it has a mother’s voice.

The wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad by it, and the fire on the hearth has lit the reading of its well-worn page.

It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, friendship, sympathy and devotion, memory and hope, put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech, breathing of frankincense and myrrh.

No man is poor or desolate who has this treasure for his own.

When the landscape darkens and the trembling pilgrim comes to the Valley named in the Shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and the staff of Scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade: “Good-bye, we shall meet again,” and comforted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness into light.

—Henry Van Dyke

When I am tired, the Bible is my bed;
Or in the dark the Bible is my light;
When I am hungry, it is vital bread;
Or fearful, it is armor for the fight.
When I am sick, ’tis healing medicine;
Or lonely, thronging friends I find therein.

If I would work, the Bible is my tool;
Or play, it is a harp of happy sound.
If I am ignorant, it is my school;
If I am sinking, it is solid ground,
If I am cold, the Bible is my fire;
And it is wings, if boldly I aspire.

Should I be lost, the Bible is my guide;
Or naked, it is raiment rich and warm.
Am I imprisoned, it is ranges wide;
Or tempest-tossed, a shelter from the storm.
Would I adventure, ’tis a gallant sea;
Or would I rest, it is a flowery lea.

Does gloom oppress? The Bible is the sun.
Or ugliness?  It is a garden fair.
Am I athirst?  How cool its currents run!
Or stifled?  What a vivifying air!
Since thus thou givest of thyself to me,
How should I give myself, great Book, to thee?
—Amos R. Wells

Christ has no hands but our hands
To do His work today,
He has no feet by our feet
To lead men in His way,
He has no tongue but our tongues
To tell men how He died,
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible
The careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel,
We are the scoffer’s creed,
We are the Lord’s last message,
Given in deed and word.
What if the type is crooked?W
hat if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy
With other work than His?
What if our feet are walking
Where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking
Of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him
And hasten His return?
—Annie Johnson Flint

The Family Bible

Old Brother Higgins built a shelf
for the family bible to rest itself
lest a sticky finger or grimy thumb
might injure the delicate pages some.
He cautioned his children to touch it not
and it rested there with never a blot
though the Higgins tribe were a troublesome lot.

His neighbor, Miggins, built a shelf
“Come children,” he said, “and help yourself.”
His book is old and ragged and worn,
with some of the choicest pages torn,
where children have fingered and thumbed and read.
But of the Miggins tribe I’ve heard it said,
each carries a Bible in his head.



What is a home without a Bible?
‘Tis a home where day is night,
Starless night, for on life’s pathway
Heaven can shed no kindly light.

What is a home without a Bible?
‘Tis a place where daily bread
For the body is provided,
But the soul is never fed.

What is a home without a Bible?
‘Tis a family out at sea,
Compass lost and rudder broken
Drifting, drifting, hopelessly.

What is a home without a Bible?
List and ponder while I speak,
‘Tis a home with a Bible in it,
But not opened once a week.


Last eve I paused beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chine;
Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had?” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers, so?”
“Just one,” said he; then said, with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”

And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon:
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard
The anvil is unharmed–the hammers, gone!


We’ve traveled together, my Bible and I,
Through all kinds of weather, with smile or with sigh!
In sorrow or sunshine, in tempest or calm!
Thy friendship unchanging, my lamp and my psalm.

We’ve traveled together, my Bible and I
When life had grown weary, and death e’en was nigh!
But all through the darkness of mist or of wrong,
I found there a solace, a prayer, and a song.

So now who shall part us, my Bible and I?
Shall ‘isms’ or schisms, or ‘new lights’ who try?
Shall shadow for substance, or stone for good bread,
Supplant thy sound wisdom, give folly instead?

Ah, no, my dear Bible, exponent of light!
Thou sword of the Spirit, put error to flight!
And still through life’s journey, until my last sigh,
We’ll travel together, my Bible and I.”


O the precious, precious Bible,
God’s messenger of love,
Ever lifting fallen man-kind
To a higher plane above;
‘Tis a lamp unto my pathway
Tho’ old yet ever new,
I’m acquainted with the author,
And I know the Book is true.

Each time I search its pages
New treasures rare I find,
How the blessed, loving Saviour
Cures sickness of all kind;
‘Tis a message of salvation
To the Gentile and the Jew,
I’m acquainted with the author,
And I know the Book is true.

I know some people doubt it,
This precious Book divine,
‘But I couldn’t do without it,
I believe it, line for line;
Tis the very same sweet Gospel
That my dear old mother knew,
Get acquainted with the author,
And you’ll know the Book is true.


God’s Holy Word has surely been
Inspired of God, and not of men;
No power nor eloquence of man
Could e’er conceive its wondrous plan.

Withstanding all the tests of time,
It stands unchanged, unique, sublime,
Proving to every tongue and race
God’s wisdom, mercy, love, and grace.

All efforts to destroy are vain–
God’s Holy Word will still remain;
So hammer on, ye hostile hands,
Your hammers break; God’s Anvil stands.
—M. E. H


The charter of all true liberty.
The forerunner of all civilization.
The molder of institutions and governments.
The fashion of law.
The secret of national progress.
The guide of history.
The ornament and mainspring of literature.
The inspiration of philosophies.
The textbook of ethics.
The soul of all strong heart life.
The illuminator of superstition.
The enemy of oppression.
The uprooter of sin.
The comfort in sorrow.
The strength in weakness.
The pathway out of perplexity.
The escape from temptation.
The steadier in the way of power.
The embodiment of all lofty ideals.
The begetter of life.
The promise of the future.
The star of death’s night.
The revealer of God.
The guide, hope, and inspiration of man.
The compass that points to Heaven.


Generations follow generations–yet it lives.
Nations rise and fall–yet it lives.
Kings, dictators, presidents come and go–yet it lives.
Torn, condemned, burned–yet it lives.
Hated, despised, cursed–yet it lives.
Doubted, suspected, criticized–yet it lives.
Damned by atheists–yet it lives.
Scoffed at by scorners–yet it lives.
Exaggerated by fanatics–yet it lives.
Misconstrued and misstated–yet it lives.
Ranted and raved about–yet it lives.
Its inspiration denied–yet it lives.

Yet it lives–as a lamp to our feet.
Yet it lives–as a light to our paths.
Yet it lives–as the gate to heaven.
Yet it lives–as a standard for childhood.
Yet it lives–as a guide for youth.
Yet it lives–as an inspiration for the matured.
Yet it lives–as a comfort for the aged.
Yet it lives–as food for the hungry.
Yet it lives–as water for the thirsty.
Yet it lives–as rest for the weary.
Yet it lives–as light for the heathen.
Yet it lives–as salvation for the sinner.
Yet it lives–as grace for the Christian.

To know it is to love it.
To love it is to accept it.
To accept it means life eternal.
—Willard L. Johnson


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