If you could only give someone 15 pages from your Bible, which would you choose?
Gordon MacDonald raised that question in one of his devotionals. He spoke of a visit to China 25 years ago shortly after it had opened its doors to American travelers: My travel partner and I met a Christian woman who had not seen a copy of the Scriptures for two decades. When she spoke to us of the Scriptures, her recollection of certain stories was faulty or distorted. What could you expect from someone who hadn't seen a Bible for that many years? Since all Bibles in the possession of travelers entering China at that time had to be registered at the border, and since we did not sense a calling to be Bible smugglers, my traveling companion and I could not pass on the Bibles that each of us had with us. But, on the other hand, it occurred to us that we could tear out certain pages from our Bibles and offer them to her. At least we were brave enough to feel certain that Chinese officials would not check our Bibles closely enough to see if every page was there. And then he added this challenge as an aside: "By the way, if you could only give someone 15 pages of your Bible, what sections would you choose? You have minutes to decide."
So, what's your answer? I'd tear out the Parable of the Prodigal Son for her, or the pages where the Sermon on the Mount is found. I'd definitely include the story of the cross and the resurrection. And Romans 8. Oh, and probably 1 Corinthians 15 about the hope of resurrection.
What about you?
Try this little exercise and it should spark something within you. It should renew your appreciation for God's precious word, but it should also move you to want to share that word with others. If we really believe that the Bible has the power to change lives, then we're withholding help from our friends and family if we're not trying to connect them with the Book.