It is no surprise that the Holy Bible is the most printed, published, and translated book in the world. Over a 100 million copies of the Bible are sold or given away every year, making the Holy Bible not only the most widely distributed book ever, but also the most sold book in history. These statistics bring an exuberant joy for Christians, but there is a fact that quickly replaces that joy with grief. The Bible is not only the most famous book in the known world, but also the least read.
According to a Huffington Post poll in 2014, 88% of Americans claim to own at least one copy of a Bible, but only 48% of that number read it once a month, and only 9% read it daily. The numbers add up to 280 million people who own Bibles in the United States, and only 7 million people who read the Scriptures daily. This means that there is a vast majority of people, specifically over 273 million people, who don’t realize that a powerful book is left untouched in their homes. They leave the book to collect dust, not knowing how much was sacrificed by Christians throughout history for this book to be so widely distributed to every individual. They don’t comprehend what incredible story lies the broad epic we call the Holy Bible, the epic of Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther, the father of the Reformation, translated the Latin texts into the common German language, in the 16th century, a deed which was considered a threat to the Roman Papacy. The Roman Catholic church was against the idea of translating Bibles for the common layman. The Roman church murdered many, such as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, all for the cause of translating the Latin or Original Language texts into the vernacular. The Roman Church threatened the life of Luther and his family all because he wanted the New Testament to be translated into the everyday language.
William Tyndale is the arguably the most famous Bible-translating martyr in the English speaking world. He is well-regarded by many Christian theologians and scholars for his faithful dedication to an accurately translated Bible. Sadly, he is more well known for being martyred by the Roman Catholic church, all for translating the Bible for the average man.
John Knox, a great Reformer that lived during the 16th century, spent a number of years fleeing from England to escape the reign and persecution of the infamous “Bloody Mary” and her hatred for anyone who disagreed with Roman Catholic doctrine. But in the midst of the persecution, he published what is considered by Christian theologians to be the first modern study Bible called the Geneva Bible. Within the Geneva Bible were commentaries and references to help the reader in his or her study of Scripture.
Knox was hunted after by the Roman Catholic church for his teachings and dedication to making the word of God known. A student in England once asked Knox of how often a Bible should be read, for it was dangerous to be caught with a translated Bible in the country. Knox replied, “Let no day slip by without the comfort received by the word of God.”
There are many stories of valiant courage demonstrated by great Christian leaders Reformers to make sure a Bible could be in the hands of every believer. When hearing or reading about these stories, it saddens me when I also hear or read of Bibles in so many homes in America that are left to bite the dust, to be left as decoration. Reformers like Luther, Tyndale, and Knox would be shocked to see how accessible the Bible really is and how few take the opportunity to read and study it..
Bibles are not only sold in some bookstores for less than $10, but there are free Bible apps for smartphones such as YouVersion and Logos making it even more convenient to access the greatest book ever published. There is no excuse in the United States for not being able to read the Scriptures and to search the knowledge of who God is. It takes work and effort, but the payoff is great.
The Bible is the source of strength against all temptations, heresy, and false teaching. Meditating on the word of God also allows us to train in righteousness and godly behavior. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV), it says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Without the Bible, our walk with Christ is incomplete and frail. Mankind cannot survive without food. In the same manner, believers cannot live without the Scriptures. The Bible does not exist for the purpose of collecting dust; God entrusted His message to us, and we can’t simply lay it aside in favor of worldly pleasures and meaningless pursuits.
The Scriptures is a fountain of beautiful, rich theology. Every page contains the splendor, majesty, and glory of God. Contained in each book within the Bible are comforts, encouragement, convictions, and commissions for the believer.
Most importantly, there is a powerful story: a Groom loved His Bride, so much so that He sacrificed His own life to save her. He left His throne to rescue the Bride that was taken captive by a great Dragon and his evil schemes, but He defeats the Dragon once and for all. The story concludes with the splendorous celebration of the matrimony of the Son, who is crowned everlasting King by His Father, and His beautiful, redeemed bride.
I urge all to read the Scriptures. Don’t leave it in the shadows of your bookshelves.
Open you eyes to God’s word, and let its light shine into your heart. Let the every page fill you with joy, mystery, and amazement.
Soli Deo Gloria.