Call Upon Him

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For the longest time people had no opportunity to hear the Word of God like we have opportunity today. Not only did this apply to those not trained in the Scriptures, but this applied to those who were supposed to lead and teach the people in matters pertaining to God. However, in a time when the Roman Catholic Church reigned supreme, and oppressively so, there were pockets within the larger local communities that sought to get the Word of God into the hands of the common folk. One such man was named John Wycliffe (1320-1384). He was not trained in the Greek and Hebrew languages (languages of the Bible), but he was informed well-enough from the Latin Bible that he desired to take the Latin Bible and translate it into the English language of his day. This he did.

To give you a sense of the difficulty of the times, “For Bible lovers around the world, it may be surprising to learn that no complete English Bible existed before the fourteenth century. The modestly educated clergy [religious leaders] studied only large, awkward copies of the church’s authorized Latin Bible. The exorbitant price and scarcity of copies made reading and studying nearly impossible. The clergy could only hope to put their hands on portions of Scripture and, for the most part, relied heavily on their prayer books for spiritual development. The use of these fragmented portions of biblical texts made it impossible to understand the flow, context, and meanings of the Scriptures as originally intended” (Donald Drake, A Visual History of the King James Bible, p. 28).

Because the Roman Catholic Church controlled the disbursement of information, they tried to enforce the rule that the clergy alone could read the Scriptures, but not in the English language, only Latin. If the non-clergy wanted to learn what the Bible said, then let them “gaze upon the pictures in stained glass windows” (ibid). Think about that for a moment. If you, a non-clergy person, wanted to learn as much as you could about God’s way of righteousness, you could only learn via stained-glass windows! “The blind that leads the blind, both fall into the ditch,” Jesus said.

The Lord’s judgment will come upon those of yesteryear who thought and operated this way, but for today, the Lord’s judgment will come on those who have opportunity to know His will and choose never to learn from that which He revealed in His written word. The Holy Spirit said, “Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17, ASV). This is done best by taking time to read the Lord’s words, hearing Him, and obeying Him. With this approach, we know the Lord will hear us when we call upon Him.

Ron Thomas
Rio Grande church of Christ
Rio Grande, OH

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