I have heard it said that preppers should stockpile beans, bullets, band-aids, and Bibles. Beans, bullets and band-aids are easy to understand: in a disaster, we may need something to eat, something to defend ourselves with, and something to provide for our own medical care. But why Bibles?
In Mark 8:36, Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The best stockpile of tools and supplies, even when well utilized in the most effective possible manner, cannot prevent someone from being eternally lost.
In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul said of Timothy, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” It is the scriptures which bring understanding of the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
With that in mind, the prep that gives the most long-lasting benefit is the Bible.
God has blessed me with such an abundance of spiritual resources that I do not even know how many Bibles I own. I have English Bibles, Norwegian Bibles, Swedish Bibles, Greek Bibles, Hebrew Bibles and Latin Bibles. I have interlinear Bibles, parallel Bibles, chronological Bibles, reference Bibles, and study Bibles. I have paperback Bibles, hardback Bibles, leather bound Bibles and electronic Bibles. The Lord has certainly filled my mouth with good things.
My Favorite Bible
What if times got hard, and I had to flee with just one Bible? What if I knew that it would probably be the only Bible that I would have access to for the rest of my life? What if it would be the only Bible that I would be able to hand down to my children and grandchildren? If that happened, then the Bible that I would pick would be the Cambridge University Press KJV Large Print Text Bible in black French Moroccan leather. One of the reasons I would chose this Bible is because it is trustworthy. The translators of the King James Version did an outstanding job of faithfully rendering God’s inspired word from the original languages into English. And then Cambridge University Press did an outstanding job of accurately printing that faithful translation. I have read this particular edition from cover to cover many times, and have never found a single error of translation or typography.
A second reason that I would chose this particular Bible is because it is legible. My eyes are not as young as they once were. There are many editions of the Bible that I find difficult or impossible to read without my bifocals. I have other Bibles that advertise themselves as large print, giant print or super giant print. None of them combine the easily legible text and convenient size of this Cambridge edition. I can read it without my bifocals without any eye strain whatsoever.
A third reason I would chose this particular Bible is because it is durable. I have subjected it to 20 years of heavy use. It looks broken in, but it is not even beginning to look worn out. I have had other Bibles with lifetime warrantees that I have needed to replace in that same 20 year period. Even some of the warrantee replacements look more worn than my more heavily used Cambridge Bible.
A final reason that I would chose this particular Bible is because it is beautiful. A really nice, leather-bound Bible is a work of art as well as a guide to eternal life and a useful tool. I love the way it looks as I take it out of its case. I love the way the leather cover feels in my hands. I love the way the pages turn. I love the way it smells. God’s word is a priceless treasure even on the roughest paper in the ugliest binding. On quality paper in a beautiful binding it is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Reading the Bible
Like any other prep, the Bible is most effective if regularly used. If you buy a ferrocerium rod, for example, and stick it in a drawer and never use it, you may find it difficult to start a fire when you are cold. If you buy a rifle and stick it in a gun safe and never use it, you may find it difficult to shoot game when you are hungry. If you buy a Bible and stick it on the shelf and never use it, you may find it difficult to find guidance and comfort in a time of spiritual need.
I recommend a consistent pattern of daily Bible reading and prayer as the single most important preparation for difficult times.
Preparing a New Bible for Use
When you buy a new Bible, it is best to place it binding down on a flat surface, like a table. Then simultaneously open the front and back covers and allow them to settle toward the table only as far as gravity takes them. Repeat this process with about ten pages from the front and the back of the Bible simultaneously. Repeat this process again and again and again and again until you reach the center of the Bible, and it is open flat on the table. This process allows the spine to stretch gradually and evenly without cracking or creasing.
Sharing the Gospel
Along with using the Bible for your own spiritual growth and to edify brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, one of the best things you can do with your Bible is share the gospel with those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. One tool that helps many to share the gospel more effectively is a chain reference system. The best training in the use of such of system that I know of is that provided by Bill Fay through his Share Jesus Without Fear curriculum. I highly recommend it.
I have put this type of chain reference system in my Cambridge Bible. I did this by opening to Romans 3:23, underlining the verse, and then writing “Romans 6:23″ at the top of the page. I then turned to Romans 6:23, underlined the verse, and wrote “Romans 5:8″ at the top of the page. I continued this process through a series of seven references. In this way, I have a reference by each verse in the chain that leads me link by link to the next verse in the chain. To share the gospel with someone, I only need to remember the first verse in the chain.
To use this chain to share the gospel with someone, I first turn to Romans 3:23, and ask them to read the underlined verse out loud. If I find out that the person is a poor reader or can’t read, then I read the verse for them myself. Otherwise, there is a special power in allowing people to read God’s word for themselves. After someone has read the verse, I then ask them, “What would you say this verse means?” If their answer reflects understanding, I would turn to the next verse in the chain and ask them to read it out loud. If their answer does not reflect understanding, I would say, “Please read it again” and then after they have read ask again “What would you say this verse means?” If after three attempts at reading the verse, they still do not understand, I might explain what the verse means and ask, “Does this make sense?” If after three readings and an explanation, they still do not understand, it may mean that they are not yet ready to hear the gospel. On the other hand, if they read each verse with understanding, they may be ready to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Here is the text of each verse that I use in my chain as well as the main ideas that I hope the reader will understand from each verse:
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. All of us have done things that displease God, and thus we do not deserve to be His children.
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. All of us have earned death as our due reward, but God offers eternal life as a free gift through Jesus.
Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. God showed His love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners.
John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. For this verse, rather than asking “What would you say this verse means?” I would ask, “Do you see any other way to God except through Jesus?” I hope that the reader will respond, “No”.
Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. If we confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. The question I would ask here is, “Can you do anything to earn your own salvation?” I hope the reader will respond, “No”.
Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The questions I would ask here are, “Do you believe that Jesus is Lord? Do you believe that God has raised Him from the dead? Do you want to become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ?” I hope the reader will respond “Yes” to each question.
It is possible that you would prefer to use a different set of passages as you share the gospel. That is fine. This chain reference system can be adapted to your preferred set of scriptures to help you in sharing the gospel.
The major problem with the Cambridge Bible is that it is expensive. The ISBN of my edition is 9780521508810. At the time of this writing, it was priced at $103.49 at Christianbook.com. Even though a quality tool is worth a significant investment, that price is not cheap.
One blessing that we enjoy is that a host of other fine editions of the Bible are currently available at prices that will fit almost any budget. My second-favorite Bible is a Thomas Nelson Giant Print edition that I have used regularly for roughly 30 years. Although it is not quite as compact as the Cambridge Bible, and its bonded leather cover is not as aesthetically pleasing as the French Moroccan leather of the Cambridge Bible, it is still an excellent tool. I recently bought a copy of that same Nelson edition with a green bonded leather cover in excellent condition at a thrift store for one dollar. Although that exact edition is no longer in print, comparable editions by other publishers are currently available at Christianbook.com for under $10.
So, buy a good Bible. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, read it daily. If you do not yet know Jesus, and would like to know more, I am sure that between the two of us, JWR and I could refer you to a good Bible-believing church in your area, or in some other way put you in contact with someone who would be happy to show you from God’s word how you can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.
I did not receive any financial or other inducements to mention any vendor, product, or service in this article.