Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"Why So Many Bibles?" by Shane C. Montgomery

Friday, October 22, 2010

      There is more Bible buying, Bible selling, Bible printing and Bible distributing than ever before in our nation. We see Bibles in every bookstore; Bibles of every size, price and style. There are Bibles in almost every house in the land. But all this time I fear we are in danger of forgetting that to HAVE the Bible is one thing, and to READ it quite another.

~ J.C. Ryle
If J.C. Ryle thought there was a massive amount of Bibles in his time, what would he think if he was alive today?  I imagine he would be a bit overcome.

  Don't get me wrong, I am not denouncing the Bible, of course not, neither am I denouncing the mass producing of Bibles.  I love the Bible, I read it daily and my book collection contains roughly 35 Bibles along with dozens and dozens of other books, mostly Reformed Theology.  But I have to agree with J.C. on this one, we have so many Bibles, but for all these Bibles they seem to do us no good!   Why bother to buy a book you seldom read, if at all, and if that is the case, why purchase multiple copies of it? 
When was the last time you paid a visit to a Christian bookstore?  For me, it was on October 9,2010.  I had a new KJV ministers Bible ordered and I had to stop by and pick it up.  I love that Bible, it is great and I am glad I ordered it, but that is not the subject, the reason I am blogging on this subject is that I notice every time I visit a Christian bookstore, I see shelf after shelf of Bibles.  Many are different translations, and I am cool with that, I understand why we need several different translations, I am not one of those "Authorized Version" only guys, Textus Receptus or nothing, right?   Not really.  
We have two fairly large Christians bookstores nearby and one smaller store. So we have a few choices, and I find it necessary to visit each of these stores several times a year.  Each store has a very large selection of Bibles to choose from and the Bible section is always crowded with people thumbing through different Bibles and asking each other "is this a good translations?"  I imagine many Bibles are sold daily, along with tons of other Christian swag, yeah, I said Swag!   That is my slang for junk aimed at Christians that they really do not need and honestly this junk does nothing to help them mature in the faith or even slightly edify them, but it sure does sell well!   Be it bad Christian CDs, and yes, it is very bad for the most part.  Or be it little statues of angels with sappy little sayings posted on the base.   It is all very nice and cute, but does nothing to truly help the average believer.  A graven image of Our Lord might sell well, but we know it is wrong to have one, but so many do anyway.  Bad music, junky, cheap jewelery, cheap plastic toys for the kiddies, made in China and marked up 100% of what you would pay elsewhere.  Magazines aimed at teen girls and teen guys, they are suppose to be magazines for Christian youth, but looking at the covers, they might as well be "Vogue" or "Teen."  You know, if it is not "Worldly" the kids will not dig it!  Thus it will go unsold.  
It is extremely hard to find anything in our Christian bookstores worth buying.  The many shelves of books are always mis labeled and always contain books off topic, I often wonder what they are thinking when they put the newest Joyce Myer book in the "Theology" section!  But being Reformed, I know I will have a next to impossible time in finding anything I want to read in these Christian bookstores, just the way it is.  The average book is by Joel Osteen, Paula White, and other Charismatics.  Once in awhile you will get lucky and find one copy of a Charles Spurgeon book, you will never find Calvin, Luther, Warfield, Edwards, Sproul, Packer, any of the Puritans, etc.  It just will not happen.  If you follow this blog, then more than likely, you are Reformed, Okay, You are Reformed!   I get it, I am too, and I know, just like you, I have to order my books from Monergismbooks.com or Banner of Truth or Reformation Heritage Books ran by Dr. Beeke in Grand Rapids.   Every other believer in the country can walk into their local Christian bookstore and buy what they need, we cannot.  But that is because we have discernment, we do not like wasting our money on trash, and most of what we find in these stores, we would not take if they paid us to take it out of the store!
But they do have Bibles, lots and lots of Bibles.  This is something we can buy at these stores.  They have a rather large selection as well, many different translations, study Bibles and Topical Bibles, so many Bibles!   What to get, what to get?  If you are like me than you do not have a bottomless wallet, there is a limit to what I can spend on my books, even Bibles.  The most I have ever spent on one single Bible was $65 for my newest Minister's Bible.  Several times I have laid down $50 on other study Bibles for myself and my family.  My 15 year old son is like me, he loves to have several study Bibles and several translations.  But all and all we have to be conservative in our spending on books and any other study resource.  God is Sovereign, I am where I am because He is.  
So many Bibles are sold every  week and not just in these bookstores, but in the super chains stores and department stores.  We have a massive amount of Bibles lying around in houses in this country.  Our shelves and closets are full of Bibles.  We as believers are forever buying Bibles!   That's good, right?   If we are buying so many, we must be devouring them.  We must be wearing our Bibles out so much that we have to buy replacements at an alarming rate.  We must be a nation of devout, die hard, Biblical scholars!   Not even close.   I want to know what is happening to all these Bibles because one thing is for sure here, we are not reading them!   Either they sit on shelves for months or at least, from Sunday morning to next Sunday morning, then they go right back to the shelf, or we are giving away a lot of Bibles as birthday, Christmas presents and the like.  But we are not reading them, let alone studying them.  Biblical illiteracy is at an all time high in the U.S.  I do not have to see the latest Barna Poll to know this, I just know, I can easily discern this because I speak with people daily about God's Holy Word and I have found, and continue to find, the average pew sitter has roughly the very same amount of Bible knowledge as the average non-believer!   I spoke with my nephew the other day, he is in his early twenties and is not a believer, yet he still possess more knowledge of Scripture than 75% of the believers I know.  This sounds absurd, but trust me, it is!  It is not a tale, I am not stretching the truth here, but it is absurd in that we have become a nation of week minded, lazy disciples.  Knowledge is wrong, knowledge is bad, theology is evil, it is "of the Devil!"   Doctrine Divides!   "I just love Jesus!", "I am busy right now just grabbing all the RED LETTER WORDS!"  I have heard every lame excuse out there for what is becoming an epidemic in this country.  Our churches are mass producing a new generation of idiots!   Don't get your feathers ruffled, don't start crying about how mean I am being.   I am being honest, ask any believer you know to tell you the Ten Commandments!   Ask the average Christian what is the main theme of Paul's epistle to the church in Galatia?   And you will  get a blank stare.    What is Justification by faith alone mean?   Uhhhh....?    Can you repeat the Lord's Prayer?  No, why not?  Where can you find the Beatitudes?   These are easy questions for you, but you must remember, you are not average!   You're not!   For the most part, our churches are failing the flock, and failing is the only word I can think for this travesty.  
We are buying Bibles at a all time high rate, but we are not reading them.  Maybe we should stay home tomorrow, hold off on that trip to the Christan bookstore, forget about buying the newest "Casting Crowns" CD and spend a little time reading, er, I mean, Studying Your Bible.  Reading the Bible doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore, so stop the casual reading about your BFF Jesus Christ who carried you over the sand at the beech when you were too tired to walk,  and start studying the Holy Word of our Holy God and then you can learn about the Lord who delivered you, the Sovereign God of the Bible has a few things He wants you to understand, like His Will, His Will for you, and how you can glorify Him in your life.   Buying Bibles is fine, I have no problem, and I bet the dozens of Bible publishers out there like it too, but if you are not planning on diving into His Word and living there, then quit wasting your money, or if you insist on buying a book you could honestly care less about, at least give it to someone else who will read it!   Asia and Africa are both swelled with new believers who are hungry for God's Word, take your unused Bible off the shelf and send it to one of them.  Or you can just read it, and then live it.   It is not my intent to come off bitter, I believe if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem, so here I am, asking you to read your Bible.   J.C Ryle had it right when he said "that to HAVE the Bible is one thing, and to READ it quite another."    
So long for now.   


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