As the credits rolled, and real life came back into focus, I felt a sense of conviction and urgency I hadn’t felt in a long time. We’d been watching “God’s Outlaw”, a movie depicting the life of William Tyndale, the man who spent his life trying to get the Bible in English into the hands of every person in England — especially the peasants. The movie showed people from every walk of life getting their hands on the Bible in English for the very first time. As they read the Bible in their own language (instead of hearing it in Latin in church), you could see the hunger in their eyes, the excitement on their faces as the Word of God penetrated their hearts. It was real. It was alive. And it was in their language.
I couldn’t help thinking of what it would be like to one day hand a Bible to a believer in some tribe in Papua New Guinea. A Bible that they can read. God’s Word in their heart language. God speaks their language. I get choked up just thinking about it.
And then I think of my own life. How much do I treasure the Bible? Does it still mean anything to me to have God’s Word in a language I can understand — in the language I learned first? I’m afraid that all too often, I take God’s Word for granted. I forget its power. I treat it as just another book rather than God’s communication to man. God’s communication to me.
Not only that, but I forget what it took for me to have the Bible in my own language. As the song Ancient Words says: “Martyrs’ blood stains each page, they have died for this faith. Hear them cry through the years, O heed these words and hold them dear.” It’s so easy to forget the hundreds, the thousands of men and women who have given their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Men like William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for trying to distribute the Bible in English. Missionaries like Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, and many others who lost their lives trying to take God’s Word to the ends of the earth.
When I hear of the sacrifices of these faithful servants of Christ, when I remember the powerful treasure that is God’s Word, I’m challenged again to take my own walk with God more seriously. To cherish the Bible more. To take the Gospel where it is not yet known. Giving my life so that others can have God’s Word in their language is no longer a sacrifice, it becomes a privilege. I get the incredible privilege of being a part of taking the Living Word and the Written Word to a people that has never before had access to it in their language. Now that’s something worth dying for. And worth living for.