That They May Hear Ministries
preaching the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ from our front door to the ends of the earth
Changing the World One Bible at a Time
by Chuck Hayes
July 25, 2013
How many Bibles do you own?

Research shows that the American Christian has anywhere from three to nine Bibles. In my office alone, I have over a dozen Bibles with different translations. In my work area, I have four different study Bibles from various scholars at my fingertips. On my bookshelf I have four brand-new Bibles still in the box (they discontinued this particular type so I bought as many as I could find). And . . .   I have a smart phone with a Bible app. You get the picture.
While we sit here with an abundance of Bibles readily available, many Christians in third world countries meet and worship without one complete Bible.

Recently this ministry received the following letter from a group in Nigeria:
                  
                   We have been reading from your website for a while but just for reading sake, and none of us has ever
                   concluded to give our lives to Christ but one day something so serious happened. There was a
                   misunderstanding and eight of our close friends were murdered in a cool blood. Brother, these eight
                   friends of ours died without Christ. So today 120 of us don’t want to die like our eight friends. You see,
                   because of the message 120 of us have been reading and re-reading from your website and because of the
                   death of our eight friends 120 of us have now completely surrendered our whole lives to Christ....And we
                   all are ready to witness for Jesus but our main problem now is lack of Bibles.


Dying without Christ
The eight close friends mentioned in this letter died without Christ.  The pain and loss of a family member or a friend is unbearable at times and can be long lasting, but oh how that pain is magnified when those close to us die in their sins, separating them from Christ forever. Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). And Jesus confirmed there is a “great gulfed fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us” (Luke 16:26). Those who die in their sins, separating themselves from Christ, can never get out of hell. No second chances!

The saving message of the gospel
However, there is good news for the living! Jesus, the Son of God, emptied Himself of His privileges, came in the likeness of men, lived a perfect sinless life, died on the cross for the sins of His people, and rose from the dead the third day (1Corinthians 15:3-4; Philippians 2:6-8). When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we pass from death to life. We can know we will spend eternity in heaven with Him. Jesus said this:

                    “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life,
                     and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

Jesus said, “he who hears My word.” God’s Word is powerful. It makes people “wise for salvation.”
                    
                     But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you
                     have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make
                     you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

Brother Jon from the group in Nigeria wrote, “You see, because of the message 120 of us have been reading and rereading from your website and because of the death of our eight friends 120 of us have now completely surrendered our whole lives to Christ.”

What grace! What joy in heaven! God, who shows no favoritism, has granted repentance to life to Nigeria. God’s Word brings people to Jesus!
Sanctified and Equipped
The Bible brings us to Jesus . . . and then teaches us to be more like Jesus and prepares us to serve Him.

                   All Scripture is given by inspiration of 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)
Once a sinner is saved, this lengthy, and sometimes painful, process of overcoming our weaknesses and becoming more like Christ begins and will not end until He returns or we take our last breath. This process is called sanctification, which means “to set apart.” According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Through His Word, we are sanctified.

God also uses His Word to equip us for service. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about this equipping.

                   And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
                   for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all
                   come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure
                   of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

God uses leaders of the church to teach the word of God to equip Christians for various kinds of service like evangelism and missions, Bible, book, and tract distribution, and mercy ministries. The Bible teaches about spiritual gifts for building up the body of Christ and reaching out to others.

God continues to sanctify and equip His chosen people by the entirety of Scripture through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  But so many do not have a Bible. Remember what our friends in Nigeria said . . . “And we all are ready to witness for Jesus but our main problem now is lack of Bibles.”

The Problem: A Lack of Bibles
Threatened with heresy and imminent death, William Tyndale passionately declared, “I percieved how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scriptures were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.” Tyndale gave us the English Bible at the cost of being charged with heresy, strangled, and burned at the stake!

Tyndale understood the power in God’s Word. Yet, for most it’s just another book among many. Others rejoice in the Word “as one who finds great treasure” (Psalm 119:162). Where do you stand?

The Lord wants people to understand and know Him.
But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:24)

How can people who have no Bible do that? How can they understand His grace, love, mercy, power, and holiness? One of the first verses I memorized as a new Christian was Psalm 119:11: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against you.” How can those who have no Bible memorize (hide in the heart) the Scriptures so they won’t sin against God?
I’m reading God’s Smuggler (which I strongly recommend) as I write this article, and I am seeing the burning desire for Bibles behind the iron curtain during the days of communism, poverty, and government-induced persecution. We are so blessed in America to have complete access to the Bible . . . and the freedom to read it. And yet we are striving for money, power, fame, pleasures, and comforts that distract us from the one thing that matters most-sitting at the feet of Jesus, praying and studying the Scriptures. Jesus said to Martha “But one thing is needed” (Luke 10:42). Busyness kept Martha from the one thing that was needed: worship, meditation, and fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Is busyness keeping you from God’s Word? And is busyness distracting you from seeing the needs of others?

"My Life Changed Completely"
God has used a few of us to supply the Bibles needed by our Nigerian brothers and sisters. The experience has changed not only my life, but also the life of others in Nigeria. Several of those who received Bibles have already sent this ministry encouraging emails. One of the emails sums up the experience:

                  I have already given my life to Christ but I have no Bible and my stand in Christ is not strong until I received
                  the Bible you sent and I started reading it daily... I have fellowship with others going to church and
                  attending church meetings...Because of this Bible my life changed completely...I am the happiest person.

But even as we rejoice over these exciting reports, we know there are countless others around the world who still need Bibles. This should weigh heavily on us here in the United States because we have the means to help.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love.

                             “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
                  strength.’ The second is this:‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
                                                                                                                                                 (Mark 12:30-31)

The apostle John defines what love looks like in a practical way.

                   But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does
                   the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17)

We know our brothers and sisters around the world need Bibles. May God’s love in us be stirred up and motivate us to show our love by meeting this need.

God has blessed us in the West with the financial means to provide Bibles, tracts, and Christ-centered books around the globe that many would be saved, sanctified, and equipped for service. What a joy and privilege to be instruments in God’s hands-changing the world one Bible at a time-so others can joyfully proclaim, “My life changed completely.”