French Enlightenment philosopher François-Marie Arouet, famously known as Voltaire (1694-1778) once said, “A hundred years from my death the Bible will be a museum piece.” He confidently predicted that the Bible would vanish like a bubble and will be forgotten. That confidence of his was a grave mistake.
In 1818, 40 years after Voltaire’s death, the Protestant Bible Society of Paris in Ferney, France (the town where Voltaire resided) was established. And in 1824, there was a report that: “A newly established branch at Ferney formerly the residence of Voltaire.” 46 years exactly, the French Bible Society set up its headquarters in Voltaire’s old home in Paris. God’s Word, indeed, is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12).
Furthermore, the British and Foreign Bible Society, in 1836, utilized Voltaire’s former home, Les Delices in Geneva, Switzerland. Only fifty-eight years after his death the former home of Voltaire was indeed serving as a storehouse for Bibles and Gospel tracts.
Finally, in 1849, only seventy-one years after Voltaire’s death, William Snodgrass, an officer of the American Bible Society, stated in the giving of ABS’s annual report that “the committee had been able to redeem their pledge by sending $10,000 to France, the country of Voltaire, who predicted that in the nineteenth century the Bible would be known only as a relic of antiquity” (Daniel Merritt 2019).
Even still now, during this Digital Age, after 244 years from the death of Voltaire, God’s Word is still being printed, reprinted, translated, and published all over the world. Just last year, 2021, YouVersion’s Bible App reached its 500 million downloads and installs around the globe. That is 6.5% of the whole population of the world (8 billion).
Gutenberg’s Printing Press and the modern-day digital Bible apps have expanded and made the Word of God available and accessible to most corners of our planet. God’s Word—the Bible—cannot be withheld, nor captivated. It is alive, active, and conquering. Just as Jesus strongly claimed, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
As a Bible-believing Christian, how can you be part of this meaningful and purposeful engagement with the Word of God through digital apps? Now, the Bible has become more accessible than it was ever before. Are you just going to stay seated on the church’s chair? Proclaim God’s—active, alive, and everlasting—Word!
Pray for the same awakening of the desire and finding the joy of reading the Word of God. Watch and reflect on how the Kimyal community from West Papua, Timyal joyfully received the newly translated version of the Bible. May this remind us how we were excited when we first encounter God’s transforming grace in our lives.
Merritt, Daniel. 2019. “Voltaire’s Prediction, Home, and the Bible Society: Truth or Myth?,” https://bellatorchristi.com/2019/03/18/voltaires-prediction-home-and-the-bible-society-truth-or-myth/
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