Priscilla J. Owens wrote the words to this beloved hymn (as well as those to “Jesus Saves” and “We Have an Anchor”) some 100 years ago, yet it still lives on in churches throughout the world.  It is a beautifully simple plea for God’s Word that echoes the sentiment of the Apostle Peter’s admonition to, “like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…” (1Peter 2:2). 

But unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of our hectic schedules today, it is an appeal that is largely forgotten- or else given only cursory attention and effort.  When there seems to be such a large collection of “problems” in our world, is it not somewhat amazing that the only “instruction manual” for human life written by the Manufacturer is so largely ignored, or otherwise relegated to antiquated obscurity?  God’s prophet Hosea wrote to the Lord’s people seven-hundred before Christ, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…you have forgotten the law of your God…”  (Hosea 4:6).  So many problems and ills of our current society would be completely eliminated if we would simply adopt the mantra Ms. Owens put forth, “Give me the Bible”, and then be willing to study, understand, and follow its instruction.  God did not give us His Word to restrict and inhibit us, He gave it to us that we might “have life, and have it abundantly.”  Though this life is not necessarily what Christianity is all about, nonetheless, God desires that we get the best the world that He created for us offers- which is accomplished only when we do so according to His instructions. 

So, why don’t we long for God’s word, its teaching and instruction which allow us to live life to full joy and happiness?  Sadly, many people of our day have come to think of the Bible as “outdated,” “irrelative,” or even worse, “not really God’s word.”  Undoubtedly, Satan’s plans and efforts are showing fruits in these conclusions.  But that doesn’t mean we give up and give over to him!  We have to instead “ramp up” our efforts to not only remain committed to understanding and keeping God’s Word ourselves, but also to help others to see that the Bible is inspired (literally, God-breathed), and is absolute “best medicine” for life! 

To that end, the Southside Church of Christ (602 Henderson Street; across from Subway) has invited Bro. Mark Copeland of Kissimmee, Florida to come and address these very issues in a special series of lessons May 2-5.  Though not known personally by very many here in East Texas, Bro. Copeland is know by a great number of people here and worldwide through his completely non-profit website, executableoutlines.com, as an excellent student of God’s word, and teacher of it.  Literally thousands upon thousands throughout the globe have utilized the free bible outlines and study guides to benefit themselves, local churches, and their efforts to teach others the gospel.  Preachers and teachers, as well as serious and novice bible students of every stripe, have used his textual and topical studies to further their understanding of God’s word for years, and we are very excited to be able to bring him here to Jacksonville to speak in person.  Bro. Copeland will be teaching on the theme “Give Me the Bible”.  On Sunday (9:30am, 10:20am, and 6pm) he will address the topics “How to Make Bible Reading a Positive Experience,” “The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy,” and “Why I Love the Bible- Its Benefits of Throughout Life.”  Then Monday through Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, he will speak on “Why I Believe the Bible- Evidences of Its Inspiration,”  “Why I Obey the Bible- The Importance of Obedience,” and “How I Study the Bible- Seeking Comprehension, and Avoiding Misapplications.” 

We feel that these lessons are extremely important and just what is needed at this time of doubt concerning the inspiration and authority of the Bible.  As seemingly more and more people push aside God’s Word for man’s thoughts, man’s ideas, and man’s theories and postulations, “Give Me the Bible!” is the urgent plea of those who still seek Truth.  And, we must endeavor to show those who doubt, or even just wonder about the inspiration of the biblical text, that it is indeed God’s Word, and as such, the “instruction manual for this life and the next.”  These lessons are specifically designed to bolster confidence and faith in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and we sincerely hope that you will take advantage of these opportunities to benefit from Bro. Copeland’s knowledge and experience in the Word of God.

To help you better know Bro. Copeland, here is an excerpt from the “bio” he wrote to describe himself:  “I am simply a Christian, a disciple of Jesus Christ, and member of the Lord's body, the church, as described in the New Testament. In view of our Lord's prayer for unity, and the apostle Paul's condemnation of division, I disdain denominational distinctions and all forms of sectarianism.  I've been blessed to serve as a minister of the gospel for thirty years, working with churches made up of individuals who are likewise simply Christians. With the New Testament as their authority in matters pertaining to the work, worship, and organization of the local church, they are independent, autonomous, and non-denominational. They have no written creed (other than the Bible), and constantly engage in Bible study (not creed rehearsal), fine-tuning their understanding and practice to what they learn from the Scriptures.”

We are very much looking forward to this effort designed to “Give Me the Bible”- and hope that you will come and benefit as well.   

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