Years ago, one Sunday evening our humble and beloved pastor was preaching a sermon, the content of which I don’t recall. In the midst of it he professed to us his ever-growing, never dying love for God’s word. He was a man of the Bible. We all knew this to be true. He was not a famous preacher, nor was he envious of those who were. His passion was simply bringing God’s word to those God had entrusted to him as their shepherd. In explaining the depth of his love for Scripture he said, “I believe every word in this book. I believe it, cover to cover. I even believe the covers.” That was how he spoke of his devotion to the Bible. Thankfully, I was not tempted to engage in a debate over the divine inspiration of the covers, but I understood his point and it had an impact on me.

I’m typing this on an electronic device that contains within its memory more versions of Scripture than I will ever read. I can’t even guess how many print versions of the Bible I have in my home. Those of us in the English-speaking world have what bible scholars call “an embarrassment of riches” regarding good translations of the inspired text. And the inescapable truth is countless martyrs paid the ultimate price in blood for this to be so. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it’s important that we remind ourselves of the price that was paid in order for us to hold this precious truth in our hands. May we never take it for granted.

Martyr’s blood stains each page
They have died for this faith
Hear them cry through the years
Heed these words and hold them dear

Ancient words ever true
Changing me changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart

Ancient Words, Lynn DeShazo, 2001 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music