Thursday, September 08, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: A Bible Fit for the Restoration by Andrew C. Skinner

I remember listening to general conference in April of 2007 and being very impressed by a talk given by M. Russell Ballard called The Miracle of the Holy Bible. He spoke of the sacrifices made by men throughout the ages to bring the Bible forth for everyone to read. We are more recently reminded of these events in history by Boyd K. Packer, who spoke of them at our most recent general conference, April 2011, in his talk Guided by the Holy Spirit. Each talk pointed out how very lost we would be as a people if men of faith had not acted on their convictions and said what they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost to say. They put action behind their words, most lost their lives because of it, and now the entire world has access to the Bible because of their bravery.

A Bible Fit for the Restoration by Andrew C. Skinner is subtitled, The Epic Struggle that Brought Us the King James Version, and rightly so. It was a struggle. Hundreds of years ago, the common man did not have access to the Bible. Only the clergy could read the holy words, and in many cases, they were working from a text written in Greek and had to rely on their own interpretation. They would then teach those words to the people, who were expected to act on faith, and these people often had confused ideas about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The people needed to be able to read the words for themselves so that they could feel the spirit of the words and gain testimonies of their own, rather than acting on the faith of their leaders. Personal testimony is crucial if a person is to stand up to the trials and tribulations they will face in their lives, and these people weren't given that opportunity.

This was of great concern to biblical scholars dating clear back to St. Jerome (347-420 AD) who stated his concern that not only was the Bible not available to enough people, but that the translation was bound to become corrupted as it was copied over and over from text to text by "copyists more asleep than awake."

We move forward in time and learn more about men such as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, and William Tyndale, among others, and we see how each one of them were instruments in God's hand to help us, the everyday people, gain access to His word. The Bible never was meant to be studied only by a few. God intended for every one of us to have access to it. Wycliffe was responsible for the first English translation of the entire book, taking it from the Latin translation. Martin Luther translated it from the original Greek into German, and his beautiful language skills became the basis for much of the German language today. We can't overlook the invention of movable-type presses, as brought to us by Gutenberg, without which we wouldn't have books today. (And the thought of not having books ... that's just a really sad thought.) Each puzzle piece had to be in place, down through these hundreds of years, in order for us to fully enjoy the access to the scriptures we have today.

Each of these men devoted their lives to one prevailing truth: every human has the right to study the word of God for themselves and to decide, for themselves, not because of any other person, whether they believe that word of God. It's because of these men that we have enough information before us to really have freedom of religion - you can't make a choice for yourself if you can't study out all the variables for yourself.

Andrew C. Skinner is a diligent researcher and brings to us the story of these men complete with references, detailed background information, tidbits about the political climate of the times, and pictures of the places mentioned throughout the book. While this volume is not long, coming in at just over a hundred pages, it is absolutely packed with great information. I came away feeling educated, uplifted, and so grateful for the hand of the Lord in guiding these men on their paths so that I can sit down, pick up the Bible, and read it for myself. When I think how the Bible has blessed my life, and then try to imagine what my life would be like without it, I'm all the more indebted to these martyrs who gave their lives in this cause.

I now have something fun to share with you. The publisher of this book, Cedar Fort Inc, provided me with three additional copies of this book for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me why you are grateful for the Bible. Please make sure that your e-mail is visible through your Blogger profile or that I have some way of notifying you that you have won. You can enter from now until Saturday, September 1oth, at midnight MST. Winners will be chosen by Random.org.

FTC: I received my copy for free from the publisher and was in no other way compensated for my review.

7 comments:

Nisa said...

I remember that talk, too. It was such a powerful testament of the bible. We always hear about the plain and precious truths that have been taken out, but it was so good to hear how it was preserved for us. It not only is a testament of Jesus Christ, but it gives us glimpses into his earthly life and shows us the greatest example of how to live. It is truly a blessing to us all!

Daron D. Fraley said...

Sounds like a great book. I love the Bible because it is truth. Hard to find truth nowadays, and this is one of a few places to find it.

Chris said...

I am grateful for the Bible for the opportunity it gives me to read about the life of Christ.

Kissyjensen at gmail dot com

Mary Ann said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. I have done a fair amount of research on 16th century England for one of my wip. Although England's role in the reformation may have started for less than perfect reasons, it helped open doors that eventually led to the King Jame's translation. Queen Elizabeth I was Protestant and did not like long sermons full of rhetoric on either side of the argument, but she felt it very important to get the Bible into the hands of the people. King James was made King after her death. He was also imperfect but commissioned another translation from Latin to English. Along with the printing press, the translation of the Bible led to increased literacy amoung the general population. It just goes to show that the Lord can use anyone, no matter how imperfect, to further His work. I wonder if I've ever turly appreciated their sacrifices until now.

The men who were able to read the Bible for themselves (like Martin Luther) recognized pure gospel doctrine, which led them to understand the need for a reformation. They faced great opposition so that we can read for ourselves. Wilford Woodruff, and many of the early saints, were converted to the Gospel by outlining aspects of Christ's true church that they found in the Bible. I would love to learn about the rest of the story.
Thank you for this opportunity.

Marcy said...

I would love to have a copy of this particular book. For the past couple of years have been drawn to study more about the many brave men who risked their safety and their lives so that all people could read the Bible in their own language. This is an important part of my own current WIP.

Julie said...

I am grateful for the Bible for more reasons than I can list here on blogger :) So here is my reason for today. I am grateful for the Bible as it provides a foundation of truth for those of other faiths. My son attends a Lutheran school and I am so grateful that he can go to school and learn from the Bible and then he can come home and as a family we can dialogue about what he is learning. It gives us a wonderful jumping ground to elaborate on what the fullness of the gospel teaches.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I took a class last year in history and much of it was around the reformation. The sacrifices that these men made, imprisonment, torture, attacks on their character, excommunication from the Catholic church, and death - all because they wanted to bring the Bible to the people.

We take it so much for granted. We can open our scriptures easily, or now we can have digital editions that we can carry in our pockets, but there was so much that went into that. Translations into the vernacular, the printing press, and educating people to become literate. Until recently most people were illiterate.

I am grateful for it. It led me to God and then later to the gospel.

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