“The Bible – God’s Holy Book
This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.
Christ is its subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
It is given to you in life, will be open in the judgement, and be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy precepts.
– Author Unknown”
These are the words that appear in the begginning of my Gideon New Testament. I recieved it from an Army Chaplain on Career Day well over fifteen years ago. (I also recieved a bathroom tile, but that’s neither here nor there. I did a good job of losing it!) This NT also bears a drawing of the American Flag with the quote, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
What really irks me though is that this book is considered to be untrue by some. You see, it’s version is the New King James. I’m told that the only reliable version of the Bible is the King James. I know it very well, my first whole Bible was a King James. I understand all the thines and thous and the hithers and thithers, and all the other words that make it difficult to read. It’s just that there is a slight flaw in the thinking of the King James Onlyists. King James had a vested interest in that the translation of certain areas be just so, and that’s just how it happened that we have it the way it is today. A Jewish Rabbi – turned Christian once explained that in Proverbs 31 the phrase “Virtuous Wife” could also be translated “Warrior Wife.” Could this be the only area where a phrase was translated to be more pollitically convienient? I think not! However, last Halloween a church gathered together every book that contained Non King James verses and burned them. My Gideon NT would be a likely target of their fire had it been anywhere close to the danger zone. Fourtunately it was not.
Our former exchange student once told me that he believed in the spirit of the Bible, but could not see how its words could be true considering that our current Bible is the result of a Telephone game lasting thousands of years. Surely, he once explained, it’s not possible that stories told from father to son for countless generations and copied by scribes for countless generations more and letters passed in between countless churches might have some truth in them, but could not in themselves be true. It seems that for those of us whose first language is English can only hope that the translators of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts can honor God’s word without being concerned about political interests. It’s a perplexing problem to know that perfection isn’t humanly attainable in even our copies of God’s Word. As for me, I don’t stress over what was said. God himself makes it clear to me what he meant.