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.