Without the Bible, Would You Still Have Christ?


You’re stranded on a deserted island without any books, no computers, no phone, no tech, and no way to look up a Scripture when you need one. Without a Bible, would you still have Christ in your life and the gift of His salvation?

I encountered that hypothetical question recently while surfing the web. It was posted almost as an aside in a contentious dispute about the interpretation into modern language of a handful of scriptures attributed to Jesus Christ.

But that little aside really made me think, and I thought I’d share some of those thoughts here.

I think it’s important to find a way to read God’s Word. Not all of us can make it all the way through the Bible. I don’t mean for that to sound like a cop-out, but if you’ve ever read the book of Numbers alone, you already know what I’m talking about.

And it’s not like Numbers is the only difficult passage to read in the Bible. Consider, for example, the first two sentences of Ephesians chapter 3, from the King James Version, written by the Apostle Paul. Remind yourself, when you get halfway through this block of text, that there are only two sentences here:

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

If I’d ever had an English teacher give me a final exam in which I had to diagram these two sentences, I would probably still be in that class, still trying to pass.

Passages like that are why we have multiple translations of the Bible, designed to help us understand what’s actually being said in all of the complex grammatical constructions, not to mention the use of words that may have different connotations in different cultures and languages.

The Message, a popular translation that simplifies the Bible into modern text, tackles those two sentences (and the one after it) and comes up with this:

This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called. I take it that you’re familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody. I got the inside story on this from God himself, as I just wrote you in brief.

That’s quite a difference.

Understand, I’m not trying to make fun of the Bible by any means. I give you this information, instead, because of the number of people who seem to act as though you can’t have Christ in your heart if you don’t have the Bible in your hand. Which brings me back to my original question: what if you were stranded on a deserted island without access to a Bible. Would Christ still be in your heart? Would you still have Christ in your life?

I do believe that the Bible provides us great guidance for life. Every time I’ve picked it up, I’ve found useful pieces of advice. But I think that’s at least in part because I have a relationship with Christ that goes beyond the Bible. It’s like finding a relative’s journal: if you know the relative well, you begin to appreciate the words that person wrote in a different way than if you had no idea who that person was. The words carry a deeper meaning. That journal helps you get to know the relative even better, but your personal relationship with the relative is your primary method of understanding who he or she is.

If Christ were just a teacher who lived a long time ago, but has no capacity to live in one’s hearts today, the Bible would be the only way we’d understand who He was and what He wanted for us.

If we believe, as I do, that Christ is alive and living within those of us who’ve invited Him in, then we can’t believe that the Bible is still that only channel to Him. The Bible is invaluable to helping us understand Him, to be sure. That’s a reason to read it: it helps us cut through side arguments to give us a testimony of what Christ actually said. But when we come to know Him, we glean a better understanding of Him than reading a book can because He speaks to us.

As with all other things, our challenge is to make time to stop and listen.

So, yes, I think on that deserted island, Christ would be there every bit as much with or without the Bible.

That should be reason to want to read it more: to see what He’s waiting to tell us through the pages next!

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • “The Message, a popular translation that simplifies the Bible into modern text”
    I adore Eugene Peterson’s The Message, and I go to it often for Bible reading. While this may seem like a technical point, it should be more correctly called a paraphrase and not a translation. Words are important. A paraphrase and a translation have very different aims and goals, and I have found that using both together gives me the greatest experience. I read the paraphrase to get the gist of the passage and then turn to the translation for actual study (NASB is my go to translation at the moment).

    • TedtheThird I would definitely recommend that people not depend on The Message as their sole Bible choice for that reason. But it can definitely help provide clarity for passages that are a bit difficult to navigate otherwise.

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  • I believe that the Bible is an invaluable tool and “roadmap” (to use the old Sunday school analogy) for our lives.  I do not believe that it is an essential part of one’s faith and while it is nice to have and you should read it if you can, there are Christians in other parts of the world that either don’t have access to a Bible, cannot read/write, or both.  I don’t believe and sure do not want to say they are not Christians and are without Christ because of their misfortune here in this life.  The same could be said if I, you or anyone else was deserted on an island.  Your bad luck alone will not leave you out of heaven in my opinion and belief.

  • patricksplace Patrick, the bible is reference to refer back to the teaching. I believe as you, Christ lives within me and He is with me always. I refer to the bible as well when I need to be assure of a passage or teaching.

  • Something that has always confused me: in school, I was taught that the only way to salvation (read: Heaven) was through accepting Christ as one’s Saviour. Does this mean that people who have never heard of God or Jesus, such as some natives of far-away lands, are automatically sent to Hell upon their death?

    • msalakka This is a question I’ve wondered, too, Mika.
      Unfortunately, it’s a question we can’t possibly answer directly. But I believe that above all else, God is loving, kind and just; because of that, I think there are special circumstances He makes for people who’ve never had the opportunity to be exposed to the Gospel. It’s something that has to be up to God, not us, and something that only God can control. I just have to leave that in His hands and trust that He not only knows the right call in such a situation, but that He will ALWAYS make it.

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