I was given my first Bible when I was 7. It was a Good News Bible. It had a yellow cover with a picture of a rainbow on the front. Pretty cool. It was a gift from my church, given because I was now old enough to go to Sunday School with the big kids.
The thing I liked most about it was that it had a few pictures in it. I liked it so much I even wrote my name on the side.
As I got older I got more Bibles. Apart from the odd map, most of them don’t really have any pictures. NIV, RSV, New Living, the Message… I’ve got more translations than you can shake a big stick at.
At the last count we had seven in our house. That means I must be super holy, or just fond of Bibles. And I am – fond of Bibles that is. But if I’m honest, I don’t read them all that much. Maybe because I have so many, I take them for granted. I’ve gotten used to having them, but not really reading them.
It’s essential, and all too often I take it for granted. But what I’ve become so familiar with, others are desperate for.
The Bible, God’s word, is the story of His love for the world He created. I need to remember that trying to follow Jesus without a Bible is like trying to sail round the world without a boat – or trunks. It’s essential, and all too often I take it for granted. But what I’ve become so familiar with, others are desperate for.
Shockingly, possession of the Bible is restricted in quite a few countries around the world. China, North Korea, the Maldives and quite a few of the Stan’s (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan) don’t really like people having Bibles. But that isn’t stopping courageous followers of Jesus from distributing God’s word and teaching others the stories that it contains.
These people – members of the worldwide church, our brothers and sisters – depend on God’s word, sometimes with their very lives. They might share one Bible across many houses. They might meet in secret to discuss and pray through the stories of Jesus. If they are found they may well be beaten, imprisoned, or at the very least socially excluded by their communities. But they know what the Bible can do. They know the Bible can reveal Jesus to them. And empowered by His spirit they can change the world.
Economics classes will teach you that the scarcest things are often considered the most valuable. In countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith, Bibles are pretty limited. In those same countries the Bible may well be the one precious thing that can reveal true hope. With all my Bibles, I’m humbled by Christians who are persecuted for their faith. And I’m inspired. Inspired to again find Jesus in the pages of my Bible – and do all I can to make sure others can too, whether they live in my town or in countries where Bibles are way too rare.
Open Doors have been sending Bibles and smuggling hope into countries where God’s word is outlawed since 1955. You can be part of this amazing mission. £10 can buy, send and deliver a Bible to a young Christian facing persecution.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.