Are you taking the Bible for granted?
In China in the 1980's the Bible was illegal and persecution was intense, yet there were Christians all over the country who longed for a Bible to read. Various individuals and groups worked to smuggle Bibles in to the country one suitcase at a time, but a man named Brother David felt called by God to do something on a much grander scale. After extensive prayer, planning, training and fundraising, Project Pearl was launched and accomplished. Brother David and his team took 1 million Bibles to China by boat, unloaded them to Chinese Christians waiting on the beach, and escaped. It was an enormous, daring and dangerous mission. I read the account of this story recently in Brother David's book, “Project Pearl."
Here's what really struck me. The book contains letters from some of the Christians in China who received these Bibles. These people longed for God's written word like it was literal food or water.
Here's part of a letter from a believer in Henan Province in March of 1982:
“Because of the ten-year cultural revolution (1966 – 1976) and natural disasters, all Bibles were lost. There were only a few copies left in the whole prefecture. Because of our desperate need, we borrowed a Bible and copied it by hand day and night. We finally finished copying the whole New Testament. It is exceedingly precious.”
The writer goes on to describe their joy in receiving copies of the Bible brought during Project Pearl. Folks, these people wanted access to the Bible so badly that they copied it by hand!
Meanwhile, we have unfettered access to the Bible and many of us struggle to even pick it up for a few minutes, if at all! God help us have the desire for Him and His word that these Chinese believers had.
This year Emily and I are using a chronological Bible to read through the Bible in a year. I'll admit that at times I've been dismissive of this. Candidly, there are many evenings that we're basically just going through the motions and doing rote readings (Leviticus, anyone??) However, I've become convinced that even rote reading of scripture daily is better than no reading of scripture.
My encouragement is for you to do three things:
Pray that God would fill you with a passion and longing for his written word.
Read the Bible. If you already are, read it a little bit more. Find a time of day that works and make it a habit.
Read it with your family. I find the end of mealtime works best for this, but do what works for you. This doesn't need to be extensive. I like “Daily Light on the Daily Path” which gives a few related verses for each day of the year.
May God 's word in the Bible continue to transform us all!
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17