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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Holy Bible, Book Divine, Precious Treasure, Thou Art Mine"

"It was in every hand; men struggled to procure it, read it eagerly, and would even kiss it. The words it contained enlightened every heart." - J. H. Merle D'Aubigne on the effect of Erasmus' New Testament in England

I decided to count the Bibles in our house today. It wasn't easy because we have so many. Some of them are tucked away on bookshelves. At least one is in a box in the garage. I finally counted twenty complete Bibles: eighteen in English, one in Spanish, and one in German and English. I didn't even try to count the New Testaments. I still have the little red New Testament the Gideons gave me in the fifth grade. Some of the kids have keepsake New Testaments from the church. We also have the New Testament in Greek, but it's hard to say how many other copies are lying around in nightstand drawers or packed in boxes under beds. And these are just the physical copies of the Scriptures we have in our possession. I'm not counting electronic versions or those available via the internet.

In his history of the Reformation, J. H. Merle D'Aubigne writes of Englishmen struggling to obtain a copy of a New Testament that wasn't even written in English. It was a Latin and Greek polyglot translation. Yet even this was so precious that they read it eagerly and kissed it.

And today we keep old Bibles in the garage. Is the Bible less of a treasure than it was five hundred years ago, or have we grown so accustomed to owning the Scriptures that we no longer appreciate their worth? Do we put off reading the Scriptures today because we know that our Bibles will still be there tomorrow and the next day?

D'Aubigne says the words of the Bible "enlightened every heart." There's very little spiritual growth and enlightenment in the Church today. Have the Scriptures lost their power? Or is this just the telltale sign of neglected Bibles?

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