A Plain Black Bible – No Shades of Grey

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:3-5

Lately, I’ve been leaving my phone in the car during church. It can be a distraction. I have too great a tendency to Google something interesting that the preacher says during the sermon or look down at the time on my phone and wonder, “When is this song going to be over?” Desiring to keep my attention better focused on the content of the worship service, my phone has occupied a lonely resting place in my minivan’s cup-holder for the last few weeks. This of course, leaves me without scripture since I use a phone app as my Bible. To remedy this problem, as I walked into church today, I stopped an grabbed a pew Bible from the table by the audio booth.

Today, the pastor preached an overview of 1st and 2nd Timothy as an introduction to a sermon-series on those epistles. Discipleship, of course, was a theme. Towards the end of the sermon, he called up a church member, Mrs. Bartlett, to the platform (it is not a stage) to give a testimony about her experience of serving as a MOPS mentor-mom. Mentor-moms are older women who disciple younger women with preschool-aged children. Mentor-moms are taught to think of themselves as “Titus 2 Women” in that they encourage younger women to live pure Christian lives.

Lamenting their lack of discernment, Mrs. Bartlett shared that some of the young women in the MOPS group had been reading the popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey and thinking nothing of it. 50 Shades of Grey, she and our pastor shared, is written pornography designed to reach women, who by their nature to not drift towards the visual pornography marketed to men. A movie based on the book is soon to debut. Mrs. Bartlett shared that this piece of pornography was one of the best selling-books of all time. It is not something that Christian women should ingest. Mrs. Bartlett shared how she was teaching the young women, from scripture, how such books could be avoided. Such books prey on a woman’s desire to have a strong man and feel romanced. Reading out of interest in a romantic story-line, women ingest graphic erotica into their minds.

As I mulled her words, I thought of the tamer Amish romance novels that are so popular at Christian Bookstores. I also thought of another book sold at Christian bookstores, written from the perspective of a strong man, and marketed to women, another best-seller…

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

I know from an eye-witness account that this book pervades women’s Bible studies here in Cartersville and beyond. Unlike 50 Shades of Grey, Jesus-Calling is not overtly worldy. Instead, it is insidiously evil in that it purports to be of a Christian nature. Christian discernment writer, Christine Pack, has stated of Jesus-Calling:

It appears that Young has gotten in touch with the demonic realm, all the while assuming (mistakenly so) that it is the true Jesus of the Bible communicating with her, when in all likelihood she is being toyed with by demonic beings.”

As I listened to Mrs. Bartlett speak about always attempting to disciple young women by speaking from scripture, I looked down at the plain-black pew Bible I held in my hand. I thought about the marketing gimmicks, cover graphics, and bookstore displays used to sell books like 50 Shades of Grey and Jesus Calling. Then I ran my hand over the solid hardback cover of the New American Standard Pew Bible that I held in my hand. On the cover were written two words in a simple gold font:

Holy Bible”

There was no recommendation from a popular author in the font of the book, just a short statement from the translation committee. There is no special display for this book at the front of my local Christian bookstore; those in stock sits in the back. It’s just a plain-black Bible, adorned with no graphics, that sits on a table at my local church. I felt the thin white pages with plain black writing between my fingers…the words of life.

When I got saved, my mom and dad gave me a plain black New American Standard Bible to me. It had my name written on the front, the same name, I was told, that was now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life…a name that could never been erased from that book. That old Bible has been read and carried around so much that some of it’s pages have fallen out. Every time I read that Bible throughout my life, God spoke to me, because every world of scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus called me by His Spirit and spoke to me through His word.

I pray for a time to come when members of the church get back to depending on and reading what’s in their plain black Bibles.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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