October 10, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. - Matthew 4:4.
Bob Burke an Oklahoma City attorney, historian, and collector has given his collection of over 2,000 Bibles, to the University of Oklahoma. In this collection of Bibles, there are over 200 languages represented and the dates of publication range from 1492 to the year 2000. The collection is thought to be the largest privately owned collection, and it is estimated that it has a value of several hundred thousand dollars. However, many of the Bibles are priceless being irreplaceable. Burke related that the Bibles had just been packed into his office and that he was relieved “because they are now in safe hands and they will be used.”
The Bible is such a wonderful book it still ranks near the top each year in numbers of books sold and there have been more Bibles printed than any other book. According to the Bible, every part is “inspired by God” and “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” The Bible is not only “inspired by God” it is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).”
The Bible is inspired by God, it is living, powerful, and sharper than a human sword, and it is the “sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).” The Bible is also our spiritual food, which is needed just as frequently as physical food which we eat every day (Matthew 4:4). The Bible gives us direction to the way of life (John 14:6; 1 Peter 1:23) and through the Bible we will find true success (Joshua 1:8). It is through the Bible that we will find strength to resist and overcome temptation (Psalm 119:9, 11).
How large is your Bible collection? Within my reach are four Bibles and our family has a total of 15 or so and possibly more. I enjoy the way some of the Bibles look on the outside with nice leather covers and some have brightly colored designs, which are appealing to the eye. I like the feel of the pages, which are thin, and with gold on the edge. I like the small pocket Bible that I can carry with me concealed but ready for an emergency, just in case they ask us to lift our Bibles up in the air at a pastor's conference.
Does it do me any good to have all of these Bibles if I am just going to admire them? My Bible collection is only a collection and worthless spiritually if I never open up their pages and read the words of life printed on them. Even if we only have one Bible, we have a priceless possession that many would even today risk their lives to read and are risking their lives to read. Most of us risk nothing if we were to open up the pages of one of our Bibles and read the living words of God. Why do we just collect them? Why do we just admire them? Why don’t we read them?
(Update 9.22.2009: Jeanie at a meeting today, heard of how in China a family in a house church given a Bible was so thankful for receiving it that they wanted to have their picture taken with the man giving the Bible to them. This was even after it was known that someone had called the police to report the gathering because a man was upset that his wife had been saved.)