Nothing this world has to offer is more precious than God’s Word. I have a friend who collects rare Bibles. He owns a wonderful collection, with one Bible dating back to the fourth century. But my favorite is a Bible from sixteenth-century England, one of the earliest printed copies of God’s Word. The top third of this Bible is covered with the blood of its original owner. My friend let me hold it in my hands, and tears came to my eyes as I leafed through it.
How did blood get on the pages of that Bible? When Bloody Mary ruled England, she terrorized Protestants, murdering as many as she could. Her soldiers would spill the person’s blood, then take his Bible and dip it deep into the blood. A few of those Bibles have been preserved and are known as Martyrs’ Bibles. Scientists have tested the paper and confirmed that the dark stains on every page of my friend’s Bible are human blood.
I examined that Bible carefully, page by page. I could see where it was well worn from being studied. There are water stains, as if from tears, and places where a thumb had frayed favorite pages. This was someone’s most valuable possession, and his or her blood is there to prove it.
In sad contrast, however, contemporary Christians tend to take their Bibles for granted, forgetting that many have given their lives just to own one copy. If the church today placed as high a value on God’s Word as those martyrs did, perhaps there would not be so many people running off to experts in human theory and seeking counsel other than the perfect wisdom God gives us in His Word.
John MacArthur, TMSJ 15G Fall 2004