March 1 I Sunday
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked...but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on His law day and night.”
When I begin a sermon, I usually start with something along the lines of, “Please turn in your Bibles to such and such a passage.” After some page flipping, I proceed to read God’s Word while the congregation follows along. This is an important part of the preaching process, but sadly, it is the only exposure many people have to Scripture in any given week or month.
During the Reformation, William Tyndale’s mantra was that every ploughboy should be able to pick up the Bible and read it. The Bible had been translated to other languages in Europe, but this was prohibited by the Catholic Church in England. Access to the Bible was also kept from the common folk, but Tyndale had a fervent desire to make it accessible to everyone in England. Even though he was burned at the stake for his efforts, the legacy he leaves behind is being the first to translate the Bible into English. Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were instrumental in Tyndale’s translation project. They were also burned at the stake and during their execution, there was a report of Latimer calling out to Ridley, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as shall never be put out.”
We have the Bible in English today because these three men, and many others like them, were willing to sacrifice their lives so God’s Word would be accessible to as many people as possible. But if Tyndale, Latimer and Ridley could see the amount of respect and attention some of us give the Bible today, they may wonder if they died in vain. Although the Bible continues to be the best-selling book of all time, with many homes having several copies, they remain motionless on bookshelves and gathering dust, even on Christian bookshelves!
A number of years ago, I preached in Angola, but could not start my sermon the way I usually do. There were no Bibles for the people to read because it had never been translated into the Mungambwe language. Every time there was an attempt to translate it, the project came under satanic attack and was never completed. Even if it had been completed, only a few of the Mungambwe people were educated enough to read it.
What a sobering reminder of the immense blessing of Scripture God has given us! This should serve to inspire and motivate us to dive deeper into God’s Word, never taking for granted the privilege of having the Bible not only in our own language and in our own homes but also having the freedom and ability to read it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for neglecting Your Word. Thank You for making it accessible to me. Help me make time to read Your Word daily. Amen.