He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him» (Proverbs 30:5).
Pedro Berruguete (1450-1503) was a Spanish painter during the transition from Gothic to Renaissance style. In one of his works, La prueba de fuego [Trial by Fire] (Prado Museum, Madrid), he illustrates a kind of judgment to establish the truth that was practiced during the Middle Ages of defendants going through the flames, which, as was believed, was harmless to those who were innocent, but the fire consumed those who were guilty. But in Berruguete’s painting, the accused are books. The painting shows Domingo de Guzmán placing one of his works in the fire, at the same time some Albigensian doctors do the same. Prodigiously, the Dominican founder’s rises above the flames, which consume the texts of the «heretics. «The trial by fire applied to hundreds of books on different occasions.
People were convinced that if it was a God-inspired book, it would rise above the flames, similar to the book by Domingo de Guzmán. So many works were consumed during a time when the miracles prevailed over rational arguments.I have observed the painting of Berruguete on more than one occasion in the Prado Museum. Every time I’m in front of it, my head starts spinning. Suddenly I think about how difficult and challenging it must have been to be a believer in those times. The making of books demanded a great craftsmanship that consumed a good part of the life of its manufacturers.
But the production of books on biblical subjects was a real danger! Still, there were always people willing to share the truth of the gospel even if they knew that many of their efforts would end up in the flames.The truth is that even the fire could not stop the spread of the Word of God during the Middle Ages. The biblical promise is: «The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.» «So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it» (Isaiah 40:8; 55:11).
Today the Bible continues to receive criticism, attacks, and disapproval. Other types of «trials» are applied to counteract its power, but the power of the Word is not diminished, but rather remains in effect by impacting the lives of those who accept to experience its influence.
Pray to God to help you appreciate the Holy Scriptures in your life