One of the major enterprises that we, as True Life Baptist Church, want to emphasize during the year 2018 is reading all the way through the Bible in one year. This may seem overwhelming to you, as you sit down for the first time to read your Bible. You may flip through the many pages of your Bible, and wonder how it is possible to read through the whole Bible in a year. but, let me assure you, reading through your Bible is a blessing which you do not want to miss!
It is easy to take God's Word for granted in these days. Many Christians have more than one Bible. As I sit at my desk, there are three Bibles on my desk. I have six more Bibles on my shelves and several more in my filing cabinet. The problem today really isn't a lack of Bibles. The real problem today is that people (sadly, even God's people) aren't interested in what God has to say. They think about the Bible when they come to a church service, and sometimes when things are difficult in their lives, but the Bible isn't the "go-to" book for every day that it ought to be.
To be honest, we are privileged to have a copy of the Bible in our possession. This has not always been the case. Down through the years, there have been times when very few people had a copy of God's Word in their language. This does not mean that the Word of God did not exist, but that there were very few who had the privilege to read and understand it.
There are two basic reasons why others have not had the privilege of God's Word that we have today.
First, there is the problem of translation. In times gone by the Greek language changed from the Koine Greek that was spoken in the Roman Empire during the days of Christ and His apostles. Only those who were studied in ancient Greek could understand what God had said. No one had taken the pains to translate the Word of God into the various languages of the world.
This is a problem even today. There are places in the world where the Bible has never been translated into the local language of the people. In our ministry in Papua New Guinea, there was not a copy of the Word of God in the tribal language of the people. I can even remember the day when there was not a copy of God's Word in the trade language of the country. This makes it very difficult for people to minister the Word of God to others, but it also makes it impossible for people to search out for themselves what God really said, as did the Bereans (Acts 17:11).
We have the privilege of holding in our hands the preserved Word of God in the English language! Of course, I am referring to the King James Bible. The King James Bible is superior to any other "bible" due to the superiority of its text, the superiority of its language, as well as the superiority of its translators. I will not delve into these reasons at this time, but, suffice it to say, we have a great privilege that many people from all parts of the earth do not enjoy! We have the Bible, and the opportunity to read it on a daily basis!
Second, the reason why others have not had the privilege of God's Word is that of the law. Way back in ad 1229, the Roman Catholic church, through its Council at Toulouse, decreed that the Bible should be denied to all laymen. Down through the ages, one government after another has banned the Bible, confiscated them and burned them. This has left many people without a copy of the Word of God.
God has given us grace by allowing us to live in a country that does not outlaw the possession of the Bible. This is a privilege that we did nothing to obtain! There are independent Baptist churches in North America who have made it their purpose to print and distribute the Word of God, in part or in whole, to all parts of the planet. They realize that it is a privilege to possess the Bible, and they dearly desire to make it available to every individual on the face of the earth.
If you are in possession of a Bible, you have been privileged beyond your ability to understand! If you have the ability to read your Bible, you have a great privilege. But, if you will willingly read the Bible, and allow the Holy Spirit of God to speak to your heart, you have received a privilege that few have realized!
Let's not take our Bibles for granted. Instead, let's faithfully read and apply it each day!