From the coordinator
Revival, mission and Bible
The British & Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) was founded on 7 March 1804, so it can now celebrate its 200th anniversary. Before this, in the late 1790’s, several English mission societies had been set up. In 1809 the London Jews Society was established. After the formation of BFBS several other national Bible societies were soon to follow.
The formation of a number of mission societies at the end of the 18th century was a result of revivals in England and the USA. The establishment of a British Bible society in 1804 – and many other national societies in the years to come – can also be traced back to these revivals. At that time revival, mission and Bible were interrelated.
Even though the Bible societies and the mission societies were independent entities and independent organizations, they depended on each other. If the cause of the Bible societies were to succeed, they needed the mission societies and their missionaries. And for the mission to succeed, the missionaries needed Bibles – Bibles in the language of the people among whom the missionaries served. Without Bibles the missionaries would be without their most important tool. And conversely: Without missionaries – “Bible men” – the Bible societies are nothing.
The first missionaries that worked among Jews in Palestine in the 19th century considered distribution of Bibles an important task. Of course there was a considerable amount of waste, but if they wanted to go beyond the tradition – and the traditional view of Jesus – there was no better tool than the Tanach, the Hebrew Bible. Together with discussions and talks with those who were ready to consider the message of the Bible.
I wonder if we have any better tool today?
God give that we in LCJE may have the spirit of revival in us and continue to use the best tool God has given us, namely his Word, to fulfill our mission.
Revival, mission and Bible and a new revival depend on each other – even today.