When it comes to the Bible, people can be awfully funny.
I heard recently about an American church group that was interested in funding a seminary in Russia, helping to train future ministers. Everything was going well until the Americans made it plain that they would only provide funding if the seminary used the King James Version in its classes.
There must have been a moment of stunned silence on the part of the Russian Christians, until someone was brave enough to point out that there is no King James Version in the Russian language, since King James was an English king and the KJV is an English translation.
Sure enough, the group refused to fund the seminary. After all, any place that lets something silly like language get in the way must be liberal!
As a young person, I grew up with a red Scofield King James Version Bible. The preacher had a red Scofield KJV, and if it was good enough for Peter, Paul and my pastor, it was good enough for me! I’m not sure at what age I ventured out of the fold and tested another translation, but I soon discovered a whole new world of Bibles: big ones, little ones, NIV’s and RSV’s (and lots of other acronyms).
Once I hit college and seminary, I discovered Bibles even come in Greek and Hebrew — and I discovered I didn’t like those nearly as much as my red KJV. I did discover that the New American Standard Version was good for double-checking my Greek homework, however.
I also discovered that otherwise open-minded seminary professors can lose their spirit of tolerance at the sight of the wrong Bible. One such professor referred to the Living Bible as “the green monster” and threatened bodily harm to anyone daring enter the classroom with one.
I’ve also learned how much a Bible can become a repository of someone’s life. After my grandmother’s death this summer, family members shared time looking at her Bible — the notes she had made to herself, comments on sermons, pieces of poetry tucked away in the pages. I learned things about my grandmother in death I had never learned during her life — through her Bible.
I’ve learned something else about the Bible over the years. No matter how many translations, how many attractive bindings and attractive designs, no matter how many Bibles sit on my shelf — they only come alive when I take them off the shelf and read them, ponder them, live in them.
When I die, I want my grandchildren to open my Bible and learn new things about me.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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