Can the Bible Transform Lives?

Date: February 2, 2024

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  John 1:17


When William MacKay left for college, his mother gave him a Bible.  On the front page of the Bible, she did an inscription, “To W.P. [as he preferred to be called] from your mother” and wrote the date.  But W.P. wasn’t even slightly interested in this book which his mother had given to him.  He didn’t share her faith.  After all, he was young and life was exciting.

Henrietta Mears, a godly woman who spent most of her life working with college young people, used to say that someone doesn’t go away to school and lose his faith.  She believed that he had no faith to bring with him, and perhaps that was the case with W.P. MacKay.  Though he had grown up in a Christian home, he soon began to think of himself as an atheist and had no room for God in his life.

  1. P. MacKay became the first president of the atheistic society in Canada. Later in his life, he talked about those early years with remorse, saying there was nothing “too sinful” for him to do.  Eventually W.P. became a doctor.

One day W.P. was in the emergency room when a young man was brought in whose body was badly crushed and broken, the result of a serious fall.  The boy was still conscious as he asked what were his chances of pulling through.  Dr. MacKay replied, “Young man, you do not have more than two hours to live.”

Calmly the young man replied, “That’s all right, Doctor.  I’m ready,” and a smile creased his face.  Though he had seen a lot of suffering and death, Dr. MacKay was touched by the pathos of the situation.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked.  “Yes,” he said, “in my pants pocket is my paycheck.  I wish you would send it to my landlady.  I owe her two weeks’ rent.  And when you send it would you ask her to send the book.”  “What book?” asked the doctor.   “Oh, she’ll know,” he said.  “Just ask her to send the book.”

Dr. MacKay dispatched an aide from the hospital and began his rounds of patients, but during the day, he couldn’t quite get the young man out of his thoughts, and at the end of the day, he did something he had never done before.  He went back to emergency to see what had been the fate of the young man.

Inquiring of the nurse who was just coming out of his room, he asked about his condition, and the nurse explained that he had just died.  “Did the aide bring ‘the book’ he asked for.”  “Yes,” she said, “it’s still under his pillow,” and MacKay walked into the room and reached beneath the pillow.

There was an old Bible and MacKay opened it slowly.  There on the first page was the inscription, “To W.P. from your mother,” and the date.  He immediately recognized the handwriting.  It was his mother’s and it was the very Bible she had given to him when he went away to the university.  MacKay had pawned the Bible years before.  He took the Bible, went to the doctors’ lounge, locked the door, and got down on his knees and begged for God’s mercy and forgiveness.  Dr. MacKay eventually became a Christian apologist and the author of the book, Grace and Truth – still one of the finest books in print on the subject.

That book which he had abandoned many years before changed the life of the man who had turned his back on a God who had never given up on him.  That book can change your life as well. It has changed the lives of more people than all of the other books of the world put together. Find out what it is all about! It still holds the keys to heaven’s door. Just like it did to the life of an atheist by the name of William MacKay.

Resource reading: John 3:1-21.