Do you remember that we looked at the Protestant Reformation and the great reformer Martin Luther in the last few issues? There is a man who lived many centuries before Martin Luther who deserves our notice. This very learned man was one of the first men to translate parts of the Bible into English. This man loved his Bible so much that he wanted to read it all the time. This “mysterious man” had a very unusual name. His name was the “Venerable Bede,” and this is how some people have described him:
“When Bede was a boy he began to love his Bible—mark that! And he loved it so that he read it every day of his reading life, and I will tell you how much he loved it. He had a long illness when an old man; and a clergyman—called a ‘scholar’ in those days—writes word that for fifty days they took in turns to read the Bible together. He says, ‘We read and wept, and wept and read’—they never read without weeping, not unhappy tears, but sweet tears—‘We read and wept, and wept and read for fifty days, and when we had done reading, we wept. ‘”
The Venerable Bede was a literary genius who, even on his deathbed, translated the gospel of John into English. He began this important work before he became ill, and finished it while he was ill.
When he came to the last chapter, he said to the young man who was reading it to him, “We have reached the last chapter. You must write fast—for I am soon going. I hope God will spare me to finish it. It is such a happy task!” He wrote on and on; at last the young man said, “We have come to the last verse, Sir. It is finished.” Then the Venerable Bede said, “Good words—my Lord—it is finished. All is finished for me. O blessed Bible—sweet Bible! I should like to get out of bed and sit in that chair where I have often been so happy in reading that Bible!”
They lifted him into the chair, and there he folded his hands and said, “Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace, good will toward men.” His head sank, and such was the end of the Venerable Bede!*
Do you love your Bible? I wish we would cherish our Bibles like this old man did. Has someone wished you a “prosperous” new year? Then put your hope in the promise of Joshua 1:8 for 2018.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
*Excerpt from The Expositor’s Treasury of Children’s Sermons published by Hodder and Stoughton London 1912