Bear with me, if you will, for a bit of Bible history here, I promise it has a point.
Prior to the King James version of the Bible, and in fact, prior to the founding of the Church of England, the Bible was a mysterious thing to the common believer. It was read in Latin in church by only the priests. Only the scholars really knew what the words of the Bible said, and they read them to the congregations. The believers took the word of the scholars, the words of the priests, at face value, and believed them to be the word of God. Now, I am not saying that the clergy and scholars were misusing that power, but I am saying that put a lot of power into the hands of few. They had the freedom and ability, if they so chose, to say whatever they wanted to say, and the people would believe that it came from the mouth of God.
Enter the era of the King James version, which came about a hundred years after the movable printing press. For the first time in history, the common person had access to an English translation of the Bible. Provided that they could read, they had the freedom and power, for the first time, to read for themselves, to interpret for themselves. They had the knowledge, they could study the words, they could see for themselves if the clergy and scholars were telling them the truth. It gave the common believer control over their own beliefs. It gave them the chance to have a more personal belief system, because they could read for themselves what the Bible taught. Coincidence that this happened during the time of the Reformation? I think not.
Fast forward a few hundred years, to our modern times.
Enter the era of Powerpoint. Yes, I am talking about the computer program here. Modern churches begin to employ modern technology, they begin to use Powerpoint to project the lyrics to hymns, and the text of the scriptures, onto screens in the church, for convenience sake. It makes it so much easier, it saves so much time, after all, if you don’t have to wait for the people in the church to turn the pages of an actual book before you start singing, before you start preaching. Slowly, the beautiful sound of rustling Bible pages begins to fade out of our churches. Sure, at first, people followed along in their Bible. At first, they make a point to keep reading the scripture for themselves. But slowly, over the last… oh, say… 20 years or so, people have quit even bringing a Bible into the church with them. After all, why bother, the words are right there on the screen to read, right?
And I wonder… do we not even see what we are doing to ourselves? Do we not see that we are giving up the rights to our beliefs again? Do we not see how easily we could be led astray, taught to believe whatever someone else wants us to? We have given the control of our beliefs away again.
For convenience, and for no other reason. We have become a lazy and ignorant generation, and we have done so willingly.
So let me ask you, not out of condemnation, but out of curiosity, do you take your Bible with you to church? Does your church use powerpoint? Do you open your Bible and read along?
I have to be honest, and admit, I don’t. But I am here today to say “no more”. To make a commitment here and now to take my Bible with me, to open my Bible, to read the words for myself.
Not because I don’t trust the words of my Pastor, because I do. But because it isn’t his responsibility to feed me the words of scripture. It is my responsibility to read them for myself.
If you are a church-going reader, if you are a believer, will you join me in this challenge? Let’s make a commitment to holding on to our Bibles, to holding on to our faith.