Both the Old and New Testaments command us to love our neighbor. Jesus even tells us to love him as we love ourselves. The story of the Good Samaritan clearly teaches us that we do not choose our neighbors. The Lord defines “neighbor,” not as the person who lives near us, but as the person that needs our help. Dr. Don Fraser, founder of the Bearing Precious Seed ministry, taught us that loving our neighbor means that if we have something our neighbor needs, then we should desire that he also have what we enjoy. Of course, he was referring mostly to the written Word of God. We English speakers have the entire Bible: every book, every chapter, every word. If we have neighbors without a Bible, including those with no Bible translated into their language, certainly we should desire that they have at least a portion. We should not only desire this, we should demand it! We should do all in our power to make it happen. How could I say I love my hungry neighbor and watch him waste away while I gorge myself on rich food? This would be hypocritical love, not helping love! It has been estimated that ninety-five percent of all Bibles and Christian literature are printed for the relatively few people that speak English. There is a famine in the world, and many of us are having a spiritual feast. We toss some Christian crumbs and scraps to a few people, but can we say that we love our neighbor?
This year marks the four-hundredth anniversary of the publication of the greatest book ever printed in the English language, maybe the greatest ever in any language. Even its enemies would have to admit that this one book has changed more lives than any other book. We are excited that a four-hundred-year-old book is still feeding our souls just as it did that many years ago! Some of us still savor it and have no plans to set it aside for the modern fare that is being served at the Christian bookstore. But what about my neighbor? Love demands that I at least check to see if he has anything to eat.
The four-hundredth birthday of our Bible is no insignificant occasion. Even secular colleges are planning special conferences to celebrate it. Some have asked, “What are we going to do?” After all, it is our Bible. We believe it; they don’t. Should our church plan a day with special preaching and dinner on the grounds? How about a three-day meeting to teach the history of the English Bible? We could design lapel pins, coffee mugs, or bumper stickers. Perhaps a special thanksgiving service would be appropriate to thank God for giving us such a treasure. Any or all of these things might be in order, but allow me to offer another suggestion. Why don’t we commemorate this great event by setting a holy goal to give the King James Bible, or its equivalent in other languages, to every soul that has no scriptures? What could be accomplished if every King James Bible-believing church accepted its responsibility to make Christ known, by the scriptures of the prophets, to all nations so that they could be obedient to the faith?
Another thing Brother Don Fraser taught us is that the Bible and its publication belong to the churches, not to the worldly publishing houses whose presses run day and night producing inferior Bibles (based on the corrupt critical text of the rationalists, modernists, and apostates). May I suggest that you support those church ministries that are printing good, traditional text scriptures for free distribution on the mission field? Also, find and support some missionaries that are involved in Bible translation. We have neighbors—about three thousand nations of them—that still have no scriptures. If there is any money left, you might even consider supporting a ministry that trains missionaries in linguistics and Bible translation principles.
The very best way for all of us to celebrate the birthday of our Bible and to love our neighbor is to obey God’s Word, offer ourselves to proclaim it, and honestly pray, “Here am I, Lord. What wilt thou have me to do?”