An angry mob attacked two men suspected of home robbery in South Africa last week
. Police officers rescued the men, who were lying on the ground, bleeding from their injuries—and then arrested them when they were unable to account for items in their home.
Police found seven Bibles among the stolen objects. Why the men decided to run off with God’s Word—the very book which says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15)—is anyone’s guess. Were they planning to sell the books for profit? It would have been much better for them to take some time to read the Scriptures in their possession.
Ironically, if the two men had been caught with Bibles during the Dark Ages, they might have been burned at the stake along with the books. At one time, the Roman Church included the Bible on its list of forbidden books. The Second Church Council at Tarragon in 1234 stated, “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments … and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days … so that they may be burned” (D. Lortsch, Histoire de la Bible en France
, 1910, p. 14).
Pope Pius IV also forbade owning a Bible. In the Council of Trent (1559), he decreed, “Whoever reads or has such a translation in his possession … cannot be absolved of his sins until he has turned in these Bibles” (Quoted by Hans J. Hillerbrand in S. Thompson (ed.), The Reformation
, Harper and Row, Inc. 1964, pp. 474, 475).
However, the Bible itself encourages people to study God’s Word. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “You must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15).
The true value of the Bible is not found in the ink and paper, but its message. A stolen Bible is useless. What makes the Scriptures valuable is when you hide God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11).
Learn more about the Bible as the true Word of God by clicking here