Minutes With Messiah Logo


by Tim O'Hearn

Most of us have had to deal with “childproof” packaging. Some bottles require you to push down on the lid and then turn. Others, worse, require you to push a tab while turning. Even others, worst of all, require you to push on both sides of the lid in a certain place and then turn. For some of us of a certain age and strength, these make the bottles adult-proof as well as childproof. (Fortunately, many pill bottle lids are reversible so that they can be opened without pushing.) Then there is the plastic packaging on many products that requires a knife, garden shears, or a blowtorch to open. These are not just childproof or adult-proof, they are practically dynamite-proof. Many things in this life are hard to open. Fortunately, the Bible is not one of them.

Peter did admit of the apostle Paul that he wrote things “in which are some things hard to be understood.” (2 Pet 3:16) Apocalyptic literature (Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and the Revelation) can be hard to understand because we have lost the meaning of some of the symbols. For the most part, however, the Bible is easily understood.

To say that the Bible is easily understood, is not childproof, does not mean one can read it once and know all it says. Every rereading opens new ideas. In that way, it is complex. But one does not need someone else to interpret it for them.

In the Middle Ages, the theory was that the Bible could only be interpreted by the initiated, which sometimes included the priests. Even if they could read, which was uncommon, the common people were too unlearned to understand the Bible without help. They were children, and the Bible was childproof. The problem is, the church of the day underestimated the ability of children. If a three- or four-year-old child could teach himself to read by looking at cereal boxes during breakfast, then what could he not learn from the Bible? Otherwise, why do we have Bible classes for infants? Nothing is truly childproof, and the Bible least of all.

People from Eastern European Missions tell a story about the power of the Bible. I don’t remember all the details, but the gist of the story is as follows. Eastern European Missions is an organization dedicating to putting Bibles and Bible-related materials into the hands of people, primarily in the former Soviet Union countries. The story goes that the founder of the organization was traveling by train in one of the Eastern Bloc countries some time after World War II. He was sitting in the train car reading a Bible. A soldier saw him and snatched the Bible from his hands. Stating that Bibles were not allowed in the country, he threw it out the open window of the train. After years of smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union and its satellites, this same man was in the same area. In a village, he found a group of people meeting as a church. They taught basic Christian principles, including baptism for forgiveness of sin. When this man asked how the congregation came to be, he was told that a man was walking by the railroad tracks. He came upon a Bible that had apparently been thrown from a train. He read it and showed it to others. In spite of the danger to themselves, they formed the congregation that he now saw. They showed him the Bible they had found, and indeed it was his Bible that the soldier had thrown from the train. They didn’t need someone to interpret the book, or tell them how they should worship. They understood it all from just reading. That is how simple the Bible is.

Another organization, Faith Comes By Hearing, has the same philosophy. Their goal is to get the Bible translated into every heart language, and distribute audio Bibles so that people can hear the Bible in their own language and interpret it themselves. They don’t send missionaries to teach the people what they should believe. The Bible will do that by itself. It is, after all, not childproof.