I’ve always been a voracious reader. As a boy I went through the comic book phase with a vengeance. I could probably retire if I had some of the titles I’ve owned in the past. I read most of the classic adventure novels by such authors as Burroughs, Wells, and Stevenson. Reading was a way of escape from a less than perfect home life with an alcoholic, and often abusive stepfather. The stories I read fed an already active imagination and they served as vehicles that would take me on wondrous adventures to exotic places. Places where I was free from the fears and feelings of inadequacy I often suffered from in real life.
When I was eleven years old, I spent the weekend with my twin cousins who lived in a nearby town in West Texas. They couldn’t wait to tell me of their experience at church the Sunday before. They told me they got “saved”. I had no idea what that really meant. My family seldom, if ever attended church. I knew the baby in the manger was called Jesus, and he was the Son of God, and I knew He died on the cross, but that was the extent of my religious experience. But my cousins were vigilant with their witness of their new-found faith, and they asked me to attend church with them that Sunday. And because of their witness, and the Bible-based, salvation-centered message of the preacher that Sunday morning, I surrendered to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
There was no fanfare at home when I told what had happened to me during my stay with my cousins, although my mother seemed pleased. She dug out a New Testament Storybook Bible she had won at some kind of Sunday School contest as a girl, and gave it to me. It was a hardback book with a portrait of Jesus on the cover. It covered the major stories in the New Testament in one or two pages, such as Christ’s birth, the woman at the well, Jesus feeding the 5000, etc.
I’ll never forget reading that book. It was as if I was in the crowd as Jesus performed His miracles, or taught the people. I wasn’t only reading, it was as if I was actually there. I find myself struggling to find the words to describe the experience. It was like I was actually taking part in the stories as they unfolded. I actually remember having to “snap back” to the present each time I read it! I fully understand the concept of “getting lost in a novel”, but this was different. It was . . . much deeper.
I believe that as I read that story book Bible as a young Christian, God was driving home to me the reality and truth of His Word. I have loved the Scriptures ever since. Although I haven’t always lived by them, I know them to be inspired, inerrant, and infallible. They have cut my heart, comforted my soul, and calmed my fears. They light the path of truth through a world of deception. They are God’s Holy words!
The Apostle Paul reminds us:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 TIMOTHY 3:16,17