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The Bible may be old, but like the wheel, it remains foundational to much that we take for granted. Every democracy – with their constitution, legal system, social conventions, moral values, and freedoms – has been built on biblical foundations, including Australia. The Bible has also inspired people to fight slavery, start unions, help the poor, educate children, protect animals, care for the sick, protect the environment, and challenge the rich and powerful who might use their power for their own ends. These historical facts are part of our Western heritage.
Over 500 years ago, men and women dared to risk – and even lose – their lives by illegally translating the Bible into the language of the ordinary people. Now, the Bible is available in every language that exists. Our English Bible exists, because brave men and women were willing to defy the Church and the Government - who had both had become used to controlling the flow of knowledge, and did not like it when their authority was being threatened. John Tyndale was burned at the stake by Henry V111, because he believed every person had the right to read the Bible for themselves, rather than rely on what others told them. His translation became the basis of the King James Bible, the dominant English translation for over 300 years.
But, a new threat has slowly arisen that seeks to discourage people the opportunity to read the Bible. Attacks on the Bible’s integrity and authority, combined with serious efforts to exclude it from the public discourse, have taken their toll. Enemies have misquoted it, ridiculed its content as fantasy, questioned its historical accuracy, rather than taking the actual words seriously. Such enemies are to be expected, because the Bible claims to be a revelation from God, and because the Bible directly challenges the legitimacy of many beliefs and lifestyles.
But the Bible is not an end in itself, or an object of worship; it is a guidebook of truth, that points us to the True and Living God, and His Son Jesus Christ. We may want certainty before we are willing to take action; but Jesus says that the people who listen to Him and take action will find the truth.
Jesus said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he shall KNOW concerning the teaching, whether it is from God, or whether I speak on My own authority…” and He later promises, “Then you will KNOW the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
When we are willing to seek the truth, God will reveal Himself to us and use the truth to set us free.
The Bible has always been attacked (both from inside the church, and from the outside), because it challenges what people believe and how they behave – no matter who they are – and because it claims to be the very WORDS of GOD. It is the most LOVED and HATED book on the planet.
Don’t let the detractors turn you off – dust off the Bible that is probably on a bookshelf in your house, and read it for yourself.
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