By John Steele Gordon Christmas famously "comes but once a year." In fact, however, it comes twice. The Christmas of the Nativity, the manger and Christ child, the wise men and the star of Bethlehem, "Silent Night" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" is one holiday. The Christmas of parties, Santa Claus, evergreens, presents, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bells" is quite another.
No event has allowed greater access to the Word of God than Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable type printing. It furthered the solidification of several languages including German, Spanish, and English. Since then a huge multitude in every age and country has benefited. Countless thousands have been led to Christ through the dissemination of the Word of God around the world. And untold populations have been taught to read using the Bible for instruction. I do not believe that any of this was accidental. It is simply impossible for us to know the total number of souls that have been affected by the Word of God since that time or who found salvation once the scriptures were again placed into the hands of those who wished to know God’s will. The glory is to God for this blessing and for allowing this event to shape so many lives.
Heir Gutenberg began printing around 1439. A large portion of the first books were Bibles. Since then the Word of God has been translated into more than one hundred languages and printed up in hundreds of translations and revisions. I have access to about fifty different versions in my library and as many or more online – all at the touch of a finger. Most of the online versions are available free of charge, by computer or phone. As a result we and millions like us have mostly unrestricted contact with and use of God’s Word.
I have limited means, but I make it my business to purchase and give away as many copies of the scriptures as I can each year. I have sent bibles overseas; we leave bibles at businesses, and on top of the gas pump, on doorsteps, in restaurants, at the doctor’s and dentist office, and when asked, I place them right into the hands of the persons who ask for one. My wife does the same. At the worst people will ignore them or may even throw them away. Perhaps they take one, do not read it, but give it to someone else. None of that is under my control. But at best, somewhere along the line, someone will pick one up and take it home and start to read. So, most of the time there are several in our car, ready to go. Usually these are the King James Version (they are inexpensive, easily available, and sealed in plastic – we pick them up at the dollar store). And whether I like that version or not and whether I recommend it or find it easy to read or not, I know that more persons have been brought to Christ by reading it than with all of the others combined. That is more than good enough for me. And which translation may be made available and its readability is not my concern either. I have a good, faithful friend who read what I consider to be a very bad version before he and his wife came to Christ. The important fact is that they read it. They read it all the way through and studied it together – and then they got up and asked somebody what they needed to do to be saved, just like the jailer in Philippi. If that happens one time out of a thousand or more (whether we even learn of the outcome or not), then we will have done our simple duty. The congregation where we attend also has Bibles available on every pew and on tables in the foyer for anyone who wants one. And you don’t even have to ask. This is a little “nothing” that anyone can easily afford to do. In fact we cannot afford not to do things like this (to employ a double negative).
Someone who is seeking Christ will find Him. He said so. It is not our business to worry about the outcome; all we have to do is to provide the stimulus. “Teach the Word...”
To know the Word is to know Christ. Have you ever considered this wonderful blessing and are you putting it to use? If not, there is no time like the present to get started. Someone out there, at some point will pick it up and read it.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.
(1 Timothy 3:16-17)