This s the text of my ministry message in the KSSM monthly news sheet for October 2019.
Recently you heard me preach from Paul’s letter to Philemon, and about the ways in which God uses human relationships to bring reconciliation in the world. As part of my preparation to preach on that text, and since the whole letter is only 25 verses long and I was only going to preach on Philemon 1-21, I decided to have some fun with it and to read the passage in every Bible I own. Now when I say every Bible I don’t mean every copy, just each of the different versions; so Good News and King James and New International, and so on.
What I discovered is that I have eighteen different versions of the New Testament in English in my house. I have a Greek New Testament as well, and some versions I have doubles of because I have the “Study Bible” as well as the plain text. Most of those different Bibles also have the Old Testament, and some also have the Apocrypha. That’s a lot of different ways, in English (only) of saying what God said; and in case you’re wondering, no I do not have every version available, but surely I have enough.
The most important thing about owning a copy of the Christian Scriptures, whether you have one or whether you have eighteen (plus doubles) is that you read it. I don’t often (ever) read all eighteen of my Bibles in one sitting, although when I’m writing a sermon I usually read at least three and as many as six. In my devotional life I read only one, a favourite copy of the NRSV which I bought in England, and I do read it every day, with With Love For The World, as company.
October marks one year of my being in Kaniva and Serviceton. What I desire for us in the next year is that we all commit to reading more of the Bible. Maybe we need to read more Bibles (perhaps my devotions will include a second Bible, different to the NRSV as well as the NRSV), maybe we need to read more than just the passage set in our devotions, but if we are serious about living out Biblical values in 2020 we’d better know what those values are, and there is no better place to find them than in the Bible itself.