And that’s just me. We have (at my most conservative estimate) ten other Bibles in our house. Probably closer to fifteen–perhaps even twenty.
I thought I didn’t take this blessing for granted. I thought I was grateful for having so many Bibles so readily available– in my language.
And then I started talking to Michiko [Mechi-co]. Her sister Yuko is a good friend of ours, and Michiko was visiting her from Japan for the second time. Or at least the second time we know of… On that visit, she became interested somewhat in Christianity: she saw the difference it had made in her sister’s life, and she wondered what had happened. Yuko did her best to explain things to her, and purchased a Japanese/English Bible for Michiko to read.
We went over Yuko’s house to visit (and eat–Yuko is an awesome cook. Chicken curry, anyone? :D), and we “ended up” talking about the Bible.
Michiko didn’t know anything about the Bible. Anything at all! Imagine that. Seriously, I mean it– Think about what that would be like!!
She was intensely interested in learning more: more about the Bible, more about Christ… and, in broken English, she attempted to ask us questions–and, in simple English, we attempted to explain things.
Now, I learned a wee bit of Japanese, but none of it really comes in handy for this sort of thing… “Good morning” “Please pass the salt” “Where is the computer?” um… I mean… uh… 😛 Thankfully, Michiko knows a great deal more English than I know of Japanese, so we were able to understand each other fairly well. (Though we did keep the dictionaries handy. :D)
Wow, what an experience. I can’t even explain the blessing it was… I’m sure it’s always exciting when someone is interested in learning more about Christ–but someone from a whole ‘nother country! And someone who is the sister of someone you had prayed for years to become a Christian!!
It made me really value something I had only occasionally thought about: the fact that I’ve grown up learning about the Bible. I have a great deal of the history in my mind: when I read about Elijah in the book of John, I know who that is–and I can find the place where it talks about him in the Old Testament.
Seems obvious to those of us who have heard Bible stories about Elijah since we were three, I know: but that was one of the questions Michiko asked me after reading in John a little. When I want a verse about a particular topic, one comes to mind. (Even if I do have to do a little hunting to find it… :P) When I’m struggling with something, a verse comes to mind. When I want to help someone, a verse comes to mind. Thanks to my parent’s diligence and church and God’s work in me, my mind is quite full of scripture.
As I attempted to answer Michiko’s questions, I felt so… inadequate. There is SO much to tell! And I only had a small amount of words to use! Somehow, though (Which translates to: with the help of the Holy Spirit), I/we were able to explain many of the major things to her… like the fact that Jesus is a mediator between us and God. I used the example of a translator, since that was a word and concept she knew very well (haha). It is so cool when God uses you in cases like that… and when motions and/or easily understood examples come to mind just as you need them. 🙂
As she told us some sad things from her family life, I pointed her to different passages in scripture, and watched as she understood what to do and what God did for her… it was amazing to see the power of the Bible in that way.
One thing that particularly struck me was when she read 1 Corinthians 13… half surprised, half glad, she said, “love is not proud?” and I said,” no, it isn’t.” And explained a little. She said, “I’m so happy!” And told me that a friend of hers had told her (after a breakup) “please, have pride.” It was so… interesting to see the difference between man’s ways and the Bible’s ways… and what a relief it was to her that she didn’t need to be proud.
All of that has left me with a greater appreciation for the Bible… and for all of the years of hearing it and reading it. If you, too, have your own copy of the Bible, and were raised hearing and reading it– please, don’t take the wonderful gift you have been given for granted. Be grateful. And share what you have learned.
The Bible is… like no other book. Read it, treasure it, follow it.