Praying! We Are To Pray for the Time and the Place.

Heavenly Father, I have turned my back on you many times. I forget my reason for living and sometimes claim other secular things are my true calling. It is wrong of me; forgive me for these sins, merciful God! You shall be my only answer when people ask my reason for being, for being hopeful, for loving. I pray this in accordance with what you have taught me Lord, my strength and hope in all things. Amen.But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:Lord, we know that you do not fail in any of your purposes. Your purpose was to save an elect people from all nations, Jew and Gentile alike. Your purpose was to save “whosoever believes” in Jesus. And everyone who has ever come to Jesus in true repentance and faith has been saved. We praise you for your kindness shown to us in Christ Jesus and we strive to make your Gospel known to all. Amen.Revelation 14:13 (KJV) And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.Psalms 119:143 (KJV) Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.Psalms 55:22 (KJV) Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.Luke 6:48 (KJV) He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.2 Corinthians 4:9 (KJV) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;2 Corinthians 4:8 (KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

God in Heaven, I am humbled before You. You are mighty, and I am small. I have a great tendency to be proud, but I humble myself before You and so I also submit myself to Your will. You desire that I am humble, not proud. I will humble myself in my interactions with others. Help me to humble myself and don’t let my pride creep up. Just as Jesus humbled Himself, so help me to be humble. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Inspiration From God’s Word!

Confessing our sins can be a real challenge: often we do not even know that we have committed sins until far after we have committed them. Pride, one of the 7 deadly sins, is often difficult to get past. Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong and because of pride or the fear of embarrassment refused to ask for forgiveness? I have learned that quickly apologizing when and asking forgiveness makes all parties feel better. It helps you recognize when you have sinned as well. The Lord will always forgive you, but you must knock on His door. It does not happen the other way around. The choice is yours.

We often measure ourselves up to others. Are they better or worse than me? Should I look up to them, them to me, or are we equals? These thoughts are not necessary. Submit to your elders, but above all have humility. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, tall or short, etc., you are to be humble and interact with others in a humble way. God gives grace to those who are humble. Ditch your pride for the sake of the gospel.

Psalms 55:22 (KJV) Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Luke 6:48 (KJV) He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

Revelation 14:13 (KJV) And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:8 (KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2 Corinthians 4:9 (KJV) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Psalms 119:143 (KJV) Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

John 3:16 is easily the most well known, and probably the most well-loved verse in all the Bible. It is in some way a summary of the whole of Scripture, and certainly a summary of the Gospel. Here we see God’s great love for a fallen world, such that he gave his only Son to die on Calvary’s cross. And the purpose is stated to be so that anyone who believes in Jesus would not perish but have eternal life. John 3:17 then begins by denying that God sent his Son to condemn the world, but asserts it was in fact to save it. Many of the Jews thought that Messiah would come to bless Israel but to judge the Gentile world. But here we see Jesus die to save Jew and Gentile alike.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Always have the Lord’s name ready to tell others your reasons for hope. Always. However, it is important to remember what the Bible tells us in James 4:10 : “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. ” Do not use the Lord’s name with arrogance or aggression. Be meek and gentle when using his name, as the Lord did when he sent Jesus Christ to earth.

Pray of the Day

Lord, we know that you do not fail in any of your purposes. Your purpose was to save an elect people from all nations, Jew and Gentile alike. Your purpose was to save “whosoever believes” in Jesus. And everyone who has ever come to Jesus in true repentance and faith has been saved. We praise you for your kindness shown to us in Christ Jesus and we strive to make your Gospel known to all.

Heavenly Father, I have turned my back on you many times. I forget my reason for living and sometimes claim other secular things are my true calling. It is wrong of me; forgive me for these sins, merciful God! You shall be my only answer when people ask my reason for being, for being hopeful, for loving. I pray this in accordance with what you have taught me Lord, my strength and hope in all things.

Amen.

Indians Are Killed Everyday, Government Fails to Help.

Walk Not the Spirit

There’s a brand-new book that’s just come out which details the history, the impact, and the evolution of Contemporary Christian music over the past five decades, and it’s written by my friend Marshall Terrill. You can get a copy of this excellent book when you donate to Harvest Ministries today.

Learn More »

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

It’s a Walk, Not a Sprint

LISTEN  

“Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.”

—Genesis 5:21–22

Walking is something that speaks of regularity, a continuous action on the part of the person who is doing it. The Bible tells us that Enoch walked with God. Walking with God means being constant in your relationship with Him.

Yet when it comes to their spiritual lives, some people go in spurts. They run in a mad dash for a short distance and then collapse in a heap. Then they get up, run a little more, and collapse again. But notice the Bible doesn’t say that Enoch sprinted with God. Rather, he walked with God.

It’s also worth noting when Enoch began to walk with God. Genesis 5 tells us that “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years” (verses 21–22 NKJV).

We can conclude from these verses that Methuselah’s birth may have caused something to happen in Enoch, and he realized that he needed to start walking with the Lord.

I’ve seen this happen in the lives of many people who never really took their spiritual lives too seriously until they got married and started having children. In fact, one reason that many people return to church is because they want to pass spiritual values on to their children.

Maybe this was the reason that Enoch began to walk with God. But there might be another reason: the name Methuselah means “when he is dead, it shall be sent.” God revealed to Enoch that He would judge the world when Methuselah died.

That would really get you on your toes spiritually, wouldn’t it? It had a dramatic impact on Enoch’s life.

In the same way, what God wants from us, among other things, is that we would be consistent in our relationship with Him. Will you make the choice to walk with God every day?

Indigenous chief says Canadian police beat him over expired licence plate | Reuters

HUMANRACE ISSUES TO THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS! Open the tab below and read the article. Being beaten by cops is a humanrace problem.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-police-idUSKBN23D0TQ

THE ONLY RACE; the HUMANRACE

Friday, May 7 Emergency Power They all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Nehemiah 6:9All over the world, people are adding portable generators to the emergency items stashed away in their basements or closets because power interruptions can occur at any time.Recommended Reading:Psalm 27: 11 – 14In life, we often need extra strength. As Nehemiah led the effort to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, his enemies taunted and threatened him. Local authorities tried to frighten the wall builders and make them afraid. But Nehemiah kept working, and as he worked, he uttered a prayer: “Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”The relationship we have with God and our ability to pray to Him at any time or place is like an emergency generator that provides us with power in our inner being. We can stay strong in the Lord even when our physical strength is reduced. Even when our burdens increase. His strength isn’t diminished, and it’s always available for His children. From the Lord we have the strength needed to face each day.Lord and Saviour, true and kind, be the Master of my mind; bless, and guide, and strengthen still all my powers of thought and will. Handley Moule Read through the Bible:1 Chronicles 27 – 29

LONGING TO SEE YOU AGAIN

Picture for a moment those first moments of a family reunion. The entire extended family is reunited— aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and others. They may come from around the country or even fly in from overseas. They have not seen each other in person for a very long time, so the hugs are warm and the greetings joyful. At last, they’re together again!

In a similar sense, Paul had an “intense longing” to see the Thessalonians (v. 17). They were like family to him. He’d already spoken of himself as both mother and father to the young church (vv. 7–8, 11–12). Now he referred to their separation with the word “orphaned,” which in Greek can mean not only children who’ve lost their parents but also parents who’ve lost their children.

Paul felt this way because the Thessalonians represented “our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes. . . . Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (vv. 19–20). In other words, when Christ returns and asks Paul, “How did you spend your life?”—he would point straight to the Thessalonians. They would be his “crown,” a reference to a prize in athletic games such as the ancient Olympics (Phil. 3:14). They would serve as evidence that Paul had lived faithfully for the glory of God.

Paul had gone on to Berea and then to Athens, stopping eventually in Corinth (1 Thess. 3:1). Since he couldn’t come himself, he sent Timothy to Thessalonica (3:2–5). His encouraging message: Don’t be “unsettled” or discouraged by persecution. In fact, he’d told them to expect trials as a normal lot of the Christian in a hostile world. They should stand firm and not give in to temptations to abandon the hard road of faith.

>> Among other consequences, the COVID-19 pandemic presented significant barriers to being together. This difficult situation reminds us to give even more thanks for God’s faithful fellowship (Deut. 31:8)!PRAY WITH US

In periods of isolation we draw closer to you, Father. We recognize that we need your fellowship more than anyone’s. Help us to live in awareness of your presence in our lives.This month’s devotional is written by Brad Baurain. Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

The Law Given From God: The Laws of the BIBLE!!!!

The is from the mouth of our LORD, this is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God!!

JOB 1:5 < Whenever a round of banqueting was over, Job would send for his children and purify them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all of them. For Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned, having cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.”

I. FORMS of GOVERNMENT

A. Patriarchal – The family being the unit of life, the father as head of the family was the authoritative ruler.

Judges 11:29 < The Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah, who traveled through Gilead and Manasseh, and then through Mizpah of Gilead. He crosses over to the Ammonites from Mizpah of Gilead.

30 < Jephthah made vow to the LORD: “If you in hand over the Ammonites to me,

31 < whoever comes out the doors of my house to greet me when I return safely from the Ammonites will belong to the LORD, and I will offer that person as a burnt offering.”

32 < Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD handed them over to him.

33 < He defeated twenty of their cities with a great slaughter from Aroer all the way to the entrance of Minnith and to Able-keramim. So the Ammonites were subdued before the Israelites.

34 < When Jephthah went to his home in Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with tambourines and dancing! She was his only child; he had no other son or daughter besides her.

35 < When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “No! Not my daughter! You have devastated me! You have brought great misery on me. I have given my word to the LORD and cannot take it back.”

36 < Then she said to him, “My father, you have given you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me as you have said, for the LORD brought vengeance on your enemies, the Ammonites.”

37 < She also said to her father, “Let me do this one thing: Let me wander two months through the mountians with my friends and mourn my virginity.”

38 < “Go,” he said. And sent her away two months. So she left with her friends and mourned her virginity as she wandered through the mountains.

39 < At the end of the two months, she returned to her father, and he kept the vow he had made about her. And she had never been intimate with a man. Now it became a custom in Israel

40 < that four days each year the young women of Israel would commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Believers Obedience in The Only Living God: Jesus is Lord!

Miracles

miracle-blue-light_circle_324.png

Jesus said, “With God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:12. The God who created this earth and all that is in it is able to act in ways contrary to natural laws. This is called a miracle. When we are in need of a miracle, the place to turn is to God.

God Loves You

God loves you and wants you to know Him so He can fill you with peace and give you real life — forever. “God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never die.” Jesus said, “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.”

Since God planned for us to have peace and life, why are we so far from God?

We are Separated from God

Since the beginning of time, we have chosen to disobey God and go our own way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God. “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s holiness.” Sin is choosing to say or do or think things that are against God’s plan. “The result of unforgiven sin is death. But God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.” There is only one way to reach God.

Jesus Christ Died for our Sins

Jesus Christ is God’s Son. He is the only One who can bring us back to God. Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the grave. He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between God and people.

“There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only One who can bring us to God.” “Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God.”

God has provided the only way – we must make the choice.

We Must Receive Christ

We must trust Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and receive Him as our Savior and serve Him as our Lord. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believed on His name.”

Would you like to give your life over to Jesus Christ right now? If so, you can pray the following prayer and accept Jesus as your Savior:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God. So now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.Did you pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your life?

For when he dies he can take none of it along; his goods cannot follow him down
Psalms 49:18 (The Israel Bible™)
כִּי לֹא בְמוֹתוֹ יִקַּח הַכֹּל לֹא־יֵרֵד אַחֲרָיו כְּבוֹדוֹ
KEE LO b’-mo-TO yi-KAKH ha-KOL lo yay-RAYD a-kha-RAV k’-vo-DO
Learn Hebrew!יֵרֵד [yerayd]VERB: Go downThe Bible relates that after Solomon (Shlomo in Hebrew) becomes king of Israel, he has a dream. In his dream, God appears and offers to grant him one wish. Instead of requesting wealth or long life, Shlomo humbly asks for wisdom so that he can properly judge the people. God is pleased with his decision, and rewards him not only with wisdom, but with wealth and honor as well. Upon waking the next morning, he comes to Jerusalem and offers sacrifices, expressing his gratitude to the Lord (I Kings 3:5-14). In making his request, Shlomo demonstrates that he understands the message of this verse: Those things that most people chase, wealth and fortune, are the most fleeting.
Exclusive Footage of the Fire At Mount Moriah
Terrorists sought to attack worshipers at the Western Wall below when they fired an incendiary that stuck the trees on the Temple Mount, causing a fire that has not happened there since the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 CE!

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Dear delana ,

Have you ever known someone who put up a barrier that prevented true communication? Sometimes when talking to certain people, I’ve felt like there was a wall of cold steel between us. In moments like that, I find myself wishing the person could open their heart just a little. Do you know why this happens? Oftentimes, it’s because that person has a poor self-image and is afraid to let others see who they really are. But God wants—and has provided—so much more for His children.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Your self-image is the mental picture you paint of yourself. It’s important to develop it correctly, because how you think, feel, speak, and act flows out of it.

The shaping of your self-image began very early when you were a baby, and continues throughout your life. Your mental self-perception is influenced by the words of others as well as your own experiences. But because our hearts are self-deceiving (Jer. 17:9), we’re prone to a distorted view of ourselves. The only one who truly knows and understands us is God. By going to His Word, we’ll gain the right insight into who we truly are.

Paul is an example of someone who had a balanced self-image. We catch a glimpse of this in 1 Corinthians 15:8-10. After listing those who had the privilege of seeing the risen Christ, Paul declared with humility that he was the last one to see the Lord. What was Paul’s journey from an earlier, distorted view to this more accurate self-perception?

Before his conversion, Paul had too high an opinion of himself. He had reached the top tier of Judaism and was confident as a Pharisee that his obedience to the law had earned him God’s approval and acceptance (Phil. 3:4-6). He was so convinced of his self-righteous beliefs that he persecuted the church. It took a visit from Jesus on the Damascus road to open Paul’s mind to the truth that he was a sinner in need of a Savior.

After, Paul humbly adjusted his self-image to a more accurate assessment. He said, “Whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8). When he wrote to the Corinthians, he described himself as “the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor. 15:9).

Now, you might think Paul must have had a terrible self-image at this point. How could he possibly get over the guilt of what he’d done? Perhaps you feel this way about yourself. Is past sin dogging your steps, dragging you down into discouragement, and distorting your selfimage? Do you let your failures shape how you see yourself? If so, learn from Paul’s example.

Paul viewed himself as God saw him. He didn’t let past failures shape his identity. He left them behind so he could pursue Christ. At salvation, Paul became a new person, all due to God’s grace: “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). Paul didn’t develop a self-loathing attitude once he recognized his sins. Instead, he saw himself through the lens of biblical truth.

That’s what God wants for every believer. We don’t have to live the rest of our lives with a distorted view of ourselves, living in bondage to a low or high self-image. The Lord wants us to have a balanced perception based on Scripture. Ephesians 1:3-14 tells us how God sees us. We are His chosen, beloved children who are redeemed, forgiven, and lavished with grace.

Finally, Paul lived in his new self-image given to him by God’s grace. He didn’t rest after salvation, but kept pressing forward to become the person God created him to be and accomplish what he’d been called to do. Paul said, “His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them [the other apostles], yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

The purpose of a balanced self-image is not just so we can feel good about ourselves and relate well to others, but so God can use us as He desires. He’s transforming us into His Son’s image (Rom. 8:29) and accomplishing His will as He empowers our love, service, and obedience.

Many things distort self-perception—guilt from past sin, criticism, failures, and comparison to others are just a few. But these are not true markers of who you are. In Christ, you are a new creation and have been given a new self, made in the likeness of God. That is who you truly are.

The way to develop a balanced self-image is to saturate yourself with God’s Word. Learn what He says about you. Then begin living in those truths by faith, knowing that God is the one transforming you into Christ’s image. He’s working in and through you so you can serve Him effectively, interact with others in an open, godly manner, and see yourself as He does. If you’ll take hold of His truths and let them shape your emotions and behavior, you’ll discover the true you.

One of the first Scripture memory verses that our children learned was “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1 KJV). Most people expect that children should be taught to obey, however they rarely understand that obedience is for not only the children, but for everyone.

nullIn our ministry we teach Biblical Parenting classes and the definition and Biblical concepts of obedience are taught during the “Discipline – Part 1″ class. Obedience is often confused with submission; however, the two words differ in this way:

  • Obey – The Biblical word for “obey” comes from the Greek “hupakou” which means to listen attentively; by implication to heed or conform to a command or authority. This word conveys the idea of actively following a command. There is no choice in the matter, it is to be done whether one agrees with it or not. Obedience is involuntary.
  • Submit – The Biblical word “submit” comes from the Greek “hupeiko” which means to yield; to passively surrender to an authority. Submission is similar to obedience but in this case one might question what is being commanded. Submission is voluntary. 

When is it a good time to start a Devotional? The beginning of the year? Tomorrow? How about RIGHT NOW!    

The Gospel Project takes men and women on a chronological, Christ-centered journey through the storyline of Scripture.

Our 13-session summer study is All Things New.

Examine the life of Paul and discover how through all the adversity, struggles, and persecution that he experienced, Jesus was present, powerful, and in control, just as He is with all believers.

Therefore, we can live in grace, strive for unity, defend the faith, and obey our Lord, overflowing with His love for us.

Why obedience is important to God. In our daily life, we know that obedience is a very essential habit one should abide to in our homes, workplaces and in the communities in which we live. In simple terms, obedience is compliance with an order, request, law or submission to another’s authority.

In our daily life, we know that obedience is a very essential habit one should abide to in our homes, workplaces and in the communities in which we live. In simple terms, obedience is compliance with an order, request, law or submission to another’s authority.

The bible also talks a lot about obedience as it is seen in many scriptures.

Children are asked to obey their parents in Ephesians 6:1 as this is the right way to behave as a child in a family. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”

In Colossians 3:18, Wives are also called upon to be submissive to their partners as this is fitting with the lord. “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

Husbands too are asked to treat their wives with respect in 1peter 3:7 which says, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers”

We see in Philippians 2:8 that even Jesus showed obedience to death and death on the cross. “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross” hence why the bible stresses it an essential part of the Christian faith.

Mathew 16:24 teaches us that as Christians, the fact that we deny ourselves from many worldly desires and choose to follow Christ, that is obedience. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The book of John 14:15, reminds us that through obeying the 10 commandments, we show our love for Jesus. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Jesus also tells us in John 14:23 that in the same act of love for him, we must comply with whatever God has commanded for it is our duty to do so.

“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

However, Jesus condemns hypocrisy in the act of obedience to the law. Speaking to the Pharisees, he said that despite of our deeds, without Christ, even our best and most righteous works are as “filthy rags”.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

As Christians, we are asked to obey the law of Christ which is the law of love as it is seen in John 13:34. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”

Jesus also asks us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves for this is the second greatest commandment that he gave to his disciples.

“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In Galatians 6:2, we learn that when we love God and obey him, we naturally have love for one another. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”

Israel!

Before the advent of the printing press, the only way to duplicate a document or book was to copy it by hand. Probably the first copies of writing were made by engraving symbols on a slab of rock. A more temporary copy could be made by using a stylus on beeswax. The ancient invention of ink or dye enabled early scribes to make marks on animal hides, which could be scrubbed and used again.

A great leap forward took place when the Egyptians began using papyrus. This plant, found along the Nile, was cut into strips, soaked in water, and then pressed into sheets. While the Old Testament was first copied on leather scrolls, the use of papyrus soon became the favorite of Bible copyists. The sheets of papyrus were sewed together and placed between two pieces of wood for covers. This type of book was called a codex. Actually the term Bible comes from the Greek word for “papyrus plant” (biblos). The oldest surviving manuscript of any part of the New Testament is a papyrus fragment containing part of John 18. Scholars estimate that it was written about 125 AD.

Around 320 the codex book form replaced the roll or scroll, and parchment made from the skin of sheep or goats replaced papyrus. Also around this time the Roman emperor Constantine became a Christian and authorized the production of many copies of the Scriptures. Now the making of copies of the Bible began in earnest, but it was still a huge undertaking. Nor was much translation attempted. Probably the first translation of the New Testament was into Latin in 175. By the year 600, the Gospels had been translated into only eight languages.

With this copying and translation activity, a confusing variety of Scriptures began to circulate through the early church. Finally, the Pope commissioned the great scholar Jerome to make a definitive translation into Latin, which was completed in 405. For nearly a thousand years this translation, known as the Vulgate, reigned supreme. While many translations were made, a church council in Toulouse, France, in 1229 forbade anyone who was not a priest from owning a Bible. Nevertheless, “underground” translation and circulation of the Bible continued.

The work of copying the Scriptures was undertaken in earnest in the monasteries in the Middle Ages. Several thousand monasteries were established across Europe, and for many of the monks making copies of the Scriptures was their chief task. They became the true guardians of the text and produced literally thousands of magnificent Bibles. Teams of scribes and artists worked with parchment to produce incredibly beautiful works of art. A scribe taking dictation might use as many as 80 quills a day, and artists embellished the work with intricate designs and illustrations.

By the late Middle Ages, the production of both religious and secular texts passed to professional copyists. Booksellers placed shops near the universities and to cathedral schools, and so the book trade mushroomed. Of course, most people in the Middle Ages were illiterate, and so picture Bibles full of wonderful illustrations became popular.

Because of the huge size of complete Bibles, they were divided into several volumes, and each was very costly. Only the rich and the universities could afford them. Into this situation came a great revolutionary named John Wycliffe, whose central doctrine was, “Every Christian ought to study this book because it is the whole truth!” Wycliffe inspired the first complete translation of the Scriptures into English. He also lashed out against the power and riches of the church establishment, and became a very popular leader at Oxford. Inevitably, he was condemned by the archbishop and was fired from Oxford. However, his conviction of the authority of the Bible rather than the Pope stirred great controversy. Despite the church’s efforts to suppress the Bibles, the common people were at last able to receive and read God’s Word.

Today we are pretty casual about this great treasure, so readily available to us. We do well to stop for a moment to realize that we can actually hold in our hands the precious revelation of God Himself. It costs us less than an hour’s wage, rather than a year’s salary, as it once did. The temptation now is to treat the ancient word casually as well. But from this ink and paper springs the ageless gospel of hope for this life and the life to come. It is our priceless heritage.

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