Owning the Scriptures

It was the middle of the 15th century before a person could purchase a copy of a Bible that had been printed instead of transcribed by hand. Reduction in the cost of printing continued to progress until in 1579, a law was created in Scotland that required every household that could afford to do so to purchase a copy of a translation of Scriptures into English called the Geneva Bible.

Jews were still arguing about what to include in the Hebrew version of Scripture in the 1st century, so having a one-volume version of the Old Testament was only possible much later than that. This means that for their first several hundred years of existence, the Church had various scrolls available to a few scholars, and a few letters from their leaders that were copied by hand and circulated among the rest of the leaders.

Having to lean on the leadership of the Holy Spirit made them successful. Now that we have the Scriptures available in hundreds of English versions, we should be even more successful. I have, in my pocket computer (smart phone) 11 English translations, Strong’s concordance and dictionary, Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (a 3″-thick  huge cross-reference book), and other dictionaries and commentaries.

The Scriptures can inform us, but they cannot change us. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can transform us into the likeness of Jesus. The Pharisees had the Scriptures available to them memorized. They still could not recognize Jesus apart from the empowerment of the Spirit.

Owning the Scriptures is a gift that has immeasurable value, including the lives of many translators, but it amounts to maps and road signs in contrast to the Holy Spirit being the means of transportation we need to get moving.

Read the maps, and learn how to read the signs on the highways. Then, ask the Holy Spirit where to go and with whom.