Recently my youngest son, Mark, built some nice bookshelves for my office. Before this, I had quite a few books that couldn’t be found, because of lack of display room. Mark did a great job, and much of the problem has been remedied. In going through books, which had been stored for quite a while, it has been necessary to discard a few of them. I did come across two books that were extremely hard to throw away. They were both Bibles; a Russian one and an old KJV. Both were in pretty bad shape with missing pages. Both were ordinary Bibles that had long ago seen their best days.
You may not realize, my dear friends, how difficult it was for me to discard those two Bibles. You see, I remember well that Christians in
I remember being in
Later when Georgi and his family were released in an exchange worked out by the Carter administration, they came to the
I remember in 1985 traveling by train from
Of course, the ones I took in were quickly given away in the churches that
Do you recognize how important the Bible is? In Christianity, in its broadest sense, a Bible is very necessary. I do not care if you are Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Adventist, Episcopal, Orthodox or even Catholic. You can be Calvinist, Arminian, Semi-Pelagian, Conditionalist, Absolute Predestinarian, Modernist, Neo- Evangelical, Fundamentalist or whatever you call yourself. You’ll be hard pressed to practice your faith without a Bible! We take the Bible for granted in the west. There are many places in the world today where they do not. For instance,
I am willing to help anyone get a Bible, regardless of their religion or lack thereof. I saw too many people who I believe were genuine Christians, who did not have Bibles under communism. In many cases, perhaps most, how will people know the truth, if they have not the written word of God? Remember in Nehemiah’s day revival among the Jews came as God’s word was rediscovered and publicly read (please see Nehemiah chapter eight). Read and meditate on verse eight which says: “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading”. Also: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy ). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16,17).
So, beloved, you can see how difficult it would be for a true Christian to function without the scriptures. Not impossible, but difficult. Haralan Popov and Simion Motz, who both served many years in harsh communist prisons, each personally told me how Christian prisoners had no Bibles, but shared the word from memory
with one another when they could gather. There, in prison, one page of the Bible was precious.
It may come to that here in
Call me old fashioned, obscurantist, whatever you will, but I believe the Masoretic text in the OT, and the majority text (received text = Textus Receptus), in the NT, is God’s settled word. In English, only the KJV, NKJV, Darby, and a handful of other translations are based on TR. The rest are Westcott and Hort variations. In English, I have seen nothing to surpass the KJV in spite of the Elizabethan language. Study it and you will be really richer for it. There are many study aids to help you grasp it. But, use whatever version you prefer, but I will stick with the old book ‘til Jesus comes or I go home.
The Russian Bible Society is a reliable distributor of Bibles in the languages of the former soviet states. Their address is: Russian Bible Society,