This is part of our Wednesday series about the Bible. Some previous articles:
Do you take the Bible for granted?
A few months ago our church highlighted a ministry that translates, prints, and distributes Bibles in native languages throughout the world. We learned that in many areas pastors don’t have access to Scripture in their own language. If they do, there’s often a single copy for many pastors, so they literally divide the pages and pass them around.
To illustrate the point, we were encouraged to count the number of Bibles in our own homes. Most houses contained multiple copies, many of them serving mostly as dust collectors on some forgotten shelf.
Sadly, I’m afraid we take our easy access to Scripture for granted. It’s easy to forget the hard work and real sacrifice that makes it possible for us to read and study God’s word.
A bit of history
Bibles haven’t always been readily available. Control of Scripture generated enormous political power which church leaders guarded jealously. Prior to the Reformation, only Latin versions were allowed by the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1536, William Tyndale was executed (strangled and burned while tied to a stake) for heresy. His unspeakable crime: translating Scripture into English from original Greek and Hebrew sources.
Copies of Tyndale’s translation were confiscated and burned, but the newly-invented printing press allowed easy production and distribution. Within a few years English Bibles were relatively common. Tyndale’s work also formed the foundation for the 1611 publication of the King James translation (KJV).
The “official” Bible?
History tends to repeat its errors. A while ago I listened as a U.S. “pastor” screamed into a television microphone that he would fight to the death to prevent use of any version of Scripture other than the KJV, which he proclaimed as the official, God-ordained Bible.
I guess he believes Jesus’ spoke 16th century English.
Personally, I rarely touch a Bible. My reluctant fingers fumble with flimsy pages, and Bible Gateway provides a more convenient format. As I click a mouse and compare different versions—even on my phone—I don’t often think about people who died to give me access to those words.
I forget that people still long for access to God’s word.
It’s like a most aspects of following Jesus in my comfortable, consumer-oriented culture. I pick the parts I like and discard the rest. It’s just a bit too easy and convenient. I like it, but I’m not so sure it’s a good thing.
It’s awfully tempting to take it for granted.
Do your take your Bible for granted?
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