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M any of us, particularly in North America, can access the Bible anywhere and everywhere. We can find it online or in bookstores, and most of us have multiple translations at home. We have literal versions, paraphrased ones, study Bibles, one-year Bibles, and more, ready to meet us wherever we are on our spiritual journey.

When I remember that there are people around the world without access to even one Bible in their own language, it prompts me to examine my heart: How much am I valuing my Bible? 

Related: Bible Translation Isn’t Easy, But the Holistic Process Is Key

I recently read that only one-third of Americans surveyed in a 2019 study read the Bible every day. (Those surveyed were regularly attending a Christian church.) Around a quarter of respondents said they read the Bible a few times a week. Fewer said they only read it once a week, a few times a month, or once a month. One in eight admitted they rarely or never read the Bible.

These statistics leave me asking, do we take our Bibles for granted? It’s the best-selling book of all time, and yet, many of us are satisfied with only reading a few verses at church on Sunday. When I think about this, it reminds me of so many stories I’ve heard of entire communities who only have one Bible—in print or audio format—to share between them. I’ve also heard stories of individuals who painstakingly copy the entire Bible by hand to have another copy. 

Those accounts inspire me to never take my Bible for granted. And it’s exactly these kinds of stories that we share on our 55:11 podcast. (The name refers to Isaiah 55:11, which states that God’s Word will accomplish its purpose.) If I’m honest with myself, I wonder if I possess that same thirst for the Scriptures as many of the people we talk about. Am I truly valuing the Word of God as the precious, life-giving treasure that it is?

From Bible owners to Bible readers and sharers

In Isaiah 55:11, we read that God’s Word will never return void but will accomplish the purpose for which God sent it. Whether we read one verse, a full chapter, or one passage each day, God wants to use the Bible to fulfill God’s purposes in and through us. The Bible is full of life-giving, hope-filled messages. We ought to read it, meditate on it, speak it, and share it with the world! 

Related: Best Bible Reading Plans for Beginners and Life-long Readers Alike

Jesus’s prayer for his followers in John 17 was that they would be sanctified by the truth of God’s Word, and also sent into the world, as Christ was sent into the world. A similar sending is found in Matthew 28:19, when Jesus tells his followers to go and make disciples of all nations. One way to do that is to get the Bible into the hands of every nation in every language. But if we are not reading our own Bibles and taking God’s message seriously, we are more likely to falter in spreading the gospel. The Word may go out empty if we do not properly value God’s Word.

My colleagues and I at Eastern European Missions (EEM) are working to spread the Word of God to brothers and sisters around the world. Our founders, more than 60 years ago, risked everything to smuggle Bibles into communist areas where they could have been captured and killed if discovered. Today, EEM prints and freely supplies Bibles and Bible-based materials in dozens of languages, all over the European region.

The mission of EEM and the commitment of our predecessors reminds me every day not to take my Bible for granted. It’s a mission that we celebrate as we share some of these powerful stories of getting God’s Word into the hands of those for whom it is treated as the precious treasure that it actually is. It’s a mission that all of us, as followers of Christ and children of God, need to take seriously: hear the Word, be rooted in the Word, and share the Word, for it is a life-giving Word that demands more than a place on a shelf.

Dirk Smith

Dirk Smith is vice president of Eastern European Mission, which has been delivering God’s Word to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 25 languages. He and his teammates share powerful stories of what God’s Word can accomplish in the “55:11 Podcast.” Learn more at