“Look at my new Bible, Pastor!” He is only three-years-old and cannot read, but the excitement could not be contained. I knelt down close to him, and he showed me his small, storybook copy of God’s Word. Technically, we probably shouldn’t call it a Bible. It is not a translation from the original languages, does not contain one of the sixty-six books in its complete form, and cannot provide to an individual believer or to a local church the doctrines of our faith or the practice of Christianity. But he doesn’t know that; what he knows is this is his Bible – his very own copy of God’s Word, and he cherishes it.
Last Sunday in our Fall Missions Emphasis, we heard from missionaries with Bibles International, the division of Baptist Mid-Missions whose charge is delivering the Bible to the hundreds of millions worldwide who still do not have God’s Word in their native language. At present BI has projects in 17 countries over 44 languages.
Last Sunday, we watched brief video footage of an Asian church receiving God’s Word in their own language. Prior to this effort by BI, no person in that people group had read the Bible in his own language. You can imagine the euphoria as pastors and people held out their hands to receive their own copies. They clutched them like a three-year-old boy.
As the video continued, the pastor addressed the church, pleading with them, “Please value your Bible. Keep in in your heart.” He knew the elation of the moment soon would wane – if not for the current generation, then for the generation that followed.
Like my pastor-brother on the other side of the globe, I plead with you who carry your Bible in your pocket or purse in digital form on your smartphone or tablet, who have multiple copies of God’s Word around your home, who have known a Christian life and church always and only with the whole Bible at your immediate beck and call – Please value your Bible. Keep it in your heart!
- Your Bible is the only light while navigating a dark path (Psalm 119:105).
- Your Bible is the only means for life giving faith (Romans 10:17).
- Your Bible is the only way to secure wisdom (Matthew 7:24).
- And so much more.
There was a time when we English speakers were no different than the tribal group in Myanmar. More than 500 years have passed since John Wycliffe, who was persecuted mercilessly for his work in Bible translation, delivered the first handwritten copies of the Bible in English. His countryman William Tyndale, a later Bible translator whose work makes it possible for you to read the Bible in English, was choked to death and his body burned at the stake in the fall of 1536 for daring to translate the Scriptures into the language of everyday people.
That was a long time ago. The events of the years have been forgotten, but what cannot be forgotten is the Word of God itself. We cannot allow the Word of God to decrease among us in any way. So, please, value your Bible. Keep it in your heart.
As always, I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.