Tonight, as I perused a ministry magazine and read story after story of the sacrifices of Christians around the globe, my heart stirred. Believers in other countries are sacrificing and suffering, just to have access to a Bible.
While we in America struggle to get through a five-minute devotion, grumble if the church service goes ten minutes too long, and stack our Bibles unused on shelves and tables, our brothers and sisters in Christ are risking their livelihoods and life to hear and read God’s word.
I read of pastors deep in Columbia’s guerrilla territory walking dangerous miles to gather for a one-time service of Bible teaching with other pastors. After worshipping and studying the Word, they left and returned to their isolated villages where they continue to witness for Jesus. That may be the only time they are able to fellowship with other pastors in this life.
I read about a North Korean man who used a South Korean Bible to tell his family about Jesus, even though the dialects differ by 40%. How is that for a hard-to-read translation of the Bible? The fact that he had smuggled the Bible into North Korea was an offense that had a horrific punishment.
I read about Christians in Iran who risk imprisonment and death to continue to tell their families and friends about the Savior. They gift wrap Bibles, when they can get them, and put them in mailboxes for people to find. That seems safe enough, but they put their contact information in the front of the Bibles. They want to tell people about God.
I read about people coming to Jesus, hungering for God’s word, telling others, loving their persecutors, and I wept.
I wept because in my country we have the freedom to worship, we have access to Bibles in a myriad of translations, and we can meet for fellowship, but we take God’s word for granted. I take God’s word for granted.
We act as if reading and obeying His teaching is a burden. We choose political correctness over His truth. We hide our faith to keep from offending. According to one statistic, eight of ten Americans identify as Christians while less than one in ten believe the foundational truth about God found in the Bible. I’m not sure what the statistic that represents those who believe God’s word enough to obey it would be.
I have a Bible in my own language because Christians through the centuries sacrificed their time, their possessions, and their lives to make this possible. William Wycliffe led the first team of English translators over 600 years ago. He died while being persecuted for his work. The list of the disciples who followed in his steps is long.
Satan fears God’s Word, because he knows its power and its truth. The Bible is our sword in spiritual warfare, the only offensive weapon in our armor (Ephesians 6:17). God uses His word to convict and comfort, to equip and to send, to strengthen and to stabilize – if we will just read it.
The Bible has been hated and forbidden. It has been argued and doubted, misquoted and disparaged, but it has not been and will not be destroyed.
When Christ walked this Earth, He consistently quoted and pointed His followers to the scripture, His message for mankind. The truth about Jesus is found in His word. His word is truth (John 17:17).
God help me to honor His Word, to cherish His Word, to read and study His Word, to know His Word, to obey His Word, to tell His Word. to live His Word.
God help me.
II Timothy 3: 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
I sang this chorus as a child, and I taught it to my children. May God help me live it today.
Yes, that’s the Book for me.
I stand alone on the Word of God,