Access to the Bible

It Is Good to Be Thankful: Appreciation makes the world a better place…

I’m so thankful to have a Bible to read. I don’t have to wait for Moses to come down from a mountain with a tablet of stone to hear what God has to say. I don’t have to wait for Paul’s next parchment epistle to arrive in the mail. I have access to God, His thoughts, and His example at my fingertips. What a blessing!

In biblical times, the average person did not have access to a Bible. Only religious leaders had a copy of the Bible and probably not in total. That’s why public reading of Scripture was important. Paul refers to this when he says, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine” (1Timothy 4:13).   

Many at that time were illiterate, so they weren’t just grabbing their Bibles and heading over to Joe’s house for an impromptu Bible study. When the Bereans were commended for searching Scriptures daily, they were making an effort to get together with someone who could read and had access to portions of the Bible (Acts 17:11). Reading or studying the Bible was a shared activity with people supporting and encouraging one another.

Once the Bible was canonized, Scriptures were copied by hand. Emperors like Constantine or religious authorities would sanction that Scriptures could be copied by scribes. This was a huge, laborious undertaking. Each word had to be carefully formed in ink with no room for error since there was no “Wite-out” or “Correcto-type” available.

During the Middle Ages, several thousand monasteries were established across Europe to copy the Bible. Teams of scribes and artists produced magnificent parchments filled with beautiful artwork. Most people in the Middle Ages couldn’t read, so these pictures, designs, and illustrations were very popular. Of course, a lot of these Bibles were huge and expensive—not available to the common man. They would be put on display at some churches, monasteries, and universities. Years ago I saw some of these inspiring manuscripts displayed at the Getty Museum in Southern California. Unbelievable works of art!

When the printing press came along in the 1400s, the flood gates of information became available to ordinary, everyday people. Many were skeptical of this new invention, but the printing press was actually the Internet of its time. Eventually literacy and access to books became widespread. The Bible became accessible to the average person—people like us.  

What a privilege! We can daily be reminded of who Christ is and what He has done for us. We have examples to follow and not to follow. We can have identity, purpose, comfort, strength, and hope at our fingertips. Of course, to gain these benefits, we would have to actually read it! I guess that’s the tricky part.


“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord...” ~ Psalms 92:1 (KJV)

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