Attempts to destroy the Bible have always been a part of this remarkable book's history. In 303 A.D., for instance, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to destroy all Christians and their Bible. The persecution that followed as a result of this edict was one of the most brutal in Roman history. Toward its end, Diocletian ordered a monument to be erected and on it had these triumphant words inscribed, "The name Christian is extinguished." Twenty-five years later, however, Diocletian was dead, his successor Constantine had legalized Christianity and had ordered Bibles prepared at government expense.
In 1776, Voltaire, the French philosopher, announced that, "One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible on earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity-seeker." Yet, one hundred years later, his very own house and press were being used to print and store Bibles by the Geneva Bible Society. Ironically enough, at a public auction held one hundred years to the day of Voltaire's prediction, the first edition of his work sold for 11¢ but a Bible manuscript was purchased for over half a million dollars!
Modern times are no different. In spite of fierce attacks by secular philosophies and totalitarian governments, more Bibles have been printed in more languages than any other book in each year of the 20th century.
The reason for this success is simple; the Bible is true, and truth has the capacity to change lives and to transform people. In spite of its great power, however, the only time a Bible can be defeated is when it remains unopened and unread--then it is powerless. Is this what we have done to the Bible in our homes?