Communicating via Scripture
Today As I continued reading the book God’s Smuggler, I came across an interesting section in Chapter 15. In this bit, Brother Andrew finds himself in a situation where he doesn’t speak the same language as two members of a church in Romania and is unable to communicate with them. Having no translator, he notices a Bible on the president’s desk and proceeds to converse with the two individuals via the Scriptures. Here is the excerpt from that chapter:
I was worried about the president of this denomination—Gheorghe—the moment he stepped into the room. This frail little man was so winded from the effort of walking that it was several minutes before he could catch his breath.
When he did, we discovered a problem. Neither he nor Ion, secretary of the group, spoke a word of my languages, nor I of theirs. We sat facing each other across the barren, multinumbered room, quite unable to communicate.
Then I saw something. On Gheorghe’s desk was a well-worn Bible, the edges of the pages eaten back an eighth of an inch from constant turning. What would happen, I wondered, if we were to converse with each other via the Scriptures? I took my own Dutch Bible from my coat pocket and turned to 1 Cor. 16:20.
“All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.”
I held the Bible out and pointed to the name of the book, recognizable in any language, and to the chapter and verse number.
Instantly their faces lit up.
The swiftly found the place in their own Bible, read it and beamed at me. Then Gheorghe was thumbing the pages, looking for a reference, which he held out for me.
Proverbs 25:25: “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”
Now we were all three laughing. I turned to the epistle of Paul to Philemon.
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord…”
It was Ion’s turn, and he didn’t have to look very far. His eyes traveled over the next lines, and he pushed the bible to me pointing with his finger:
“For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
Oh, we had a wonderful half hour, conversing with each other through the Bible.
“That’s amazing!”, I thought to myself. Can you imagine that? Talking to someone using only verses from the Bible. And for a half hour at that? I’ve tried doing this to a certain extent. In my case a verse was shared and we had to find another verse that linked in some way to the verse previously mentioned. It could be as simple as finding another verse with a similar word in it (e.g. two verses that contained the word ‘love’). I must admit I didn’t do all that great at the time, but it’s certainly something I’d love to be able to do.
Have you ever done something like this?