A stack of nine bibles rests on a podium for use before Mike DeWine, right, is sworn in as the 70th Governor of Ohio, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Cedarville, Ohio. The former U.S. senator took his oath in a private midnight ceremony at his Cedarville home ahead of a public inauguration planned Monday at the Statehouse. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, Pool)
Owning a bible is no big deal, right?
There is a level of ignorance among American Christians. We forget what our brothers and sisters in Christ experience throughout the rest of the world.
Growing up, one of my teachers had a Voice of the Martyrs map in her classroom. It showed what persecution Christians face in other nations.
Persecution has been the norm in Christianity. Paul received thirty-nine lashes five times. That’s 195 lashes of the flog. Tradition holds that he was beheaded. Tradition holds that Peter was crucified upside down. Stephen was stoned. Christians throughout the ages have been butchered.
A few years ago, I saw the brief story on a man who had his arms chopped off for converting to Christianity. In the photo, he was being embraced by his pastor after his baptism.
In high school, I read Jesus Freaks a couple of times. With accounts from all over the world, during various periods of time, the stories of believers’ loyalty to Christ, even to the point of death, are beyond moving.
Right now, believers in China face unbearable persecution, yet the church lives.
The other day, Twitter was abuzz with a video of Chinese believers receiving bibles for the first time.
A day later, The Gospel Coalition shared footage from Indonesia of a similar phenomenon.
The gratitude and reverence from these believers should inspire, but also humble us.
What disregard we have for scripture!
Pastor Nate Pickowicz tweeted this:
That quote from Spurgeon illustrates the extent to which American Christians (or British Christians in the 1800s) have squandered our freedom. It just so happens that we live in a nation that permits religious liberty, that encourages education and literacy. Bibles are not difficult to come by, yet they sit on shelves.
I don’t know how many bibles I’ve owned. I know I trashed at least two in junior high by carelessly tossing them in my backpack for class.
Obviously, we aren’t pagans who worship objects, but there is a lack of reverence and perspective when it comes to being able to own bibles.
It’s just another book. It’s not the actual Word of God. At least that’s how it looks by how we treat it.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
2nd Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
These are true regardless of our circumstances, so why does it take seeing the persecution and destitution of other believers to feel the weight of our own disregard for scripture?