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Tell Of His Power

That Pocket Bible

My life was never the same after someone gave me my first Bible.

By Steve Schefka

The Bible is the most widely published book of all times, but even in this Christian nation the Bible is still unread and inaccessible to many. My story illustrates how important it is to make the Bible available to everyone.

I grew up in a devout Polish Catholic family. My parents taught my brothers and me about Jesus and how to pray. I have memories of kneeling down beside my father’s recliner in the living room as I recited my bedtime prayers just as he had taught me. We also knew the importance of church attendance. We never missed Mass because it was considered a sin if you did not attend. At the age of eight, I took part in my first Communion.

My upbringing focused on following the rules like all good Catholics should, such as attending Mass and going to confession. However, I was never shown from the Bible why we did these things. In fact, Bible reading was absent in our home. I never recall seeing a Bible or hearing it read. This was not uncommon in those days as Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible.

Treasured Gift

But that all changed when I was nine years old. It was a spring morning and I was walking home from my school when I saw a group handing out books to those coming down the sidewalk. I was curious and wanted one for myself. One of the individuals handed me a small red pocket-size Gideon Bible. It contained the New Testament along with the books of Psalms and Proverbs. I was so excited to receive my first Bible! I held it close. As soon as I got home, I wrote my name inside along with the date.

Because I had never seen a Bible in our home, I feared what my parents might say if they found out I now had one. So I took this piece of “contraband” and hid it with all my other valuables. I never told anybody I had it. From time to time when I was alone, I would pull out that small pocket Bible and read from it. While I could not understand much of what it said, I knew it was the Word of God. I guarded that Bible as one of my greatest treasures.

The Story of Jesus

The following year an event occurred that connected me back to that Bible and the stories in it. That Easter, a made-for-TV movie came out called Jesus of Nazareth. My parents never allowed my brothers and me to stay up past 9:00 unless it was a special occasion. However, this show aired four consecutive nights and they made an exception so we could watch it. As I saw stories of Jesus’ life depicted on the screen, I fell in love with Jesus. My heart was especially gripped by the story of His crucifixion. I was devastated to see this Jesus whom I had come to love put to death. It didn’t make sense to me. I remember asking my parents, “Why did they do that to Jesus?”

Today I am not a proponent of theatrical presentations of biblical stories. I think there is some danger in the creative license that is often used in the telling of the story. However, as a young boy no one had ever read the gospel story from the Bible to me, so God used this TV show to reach my heart with the gospel so that I could be drawn to Jesus.

The Book of Revelation

A few years later I was home alone one evening and a movie came on about a boy that was supposedly the antichrist. Of course, it was completely non-biblical, as are most Hollywood movies. I remember not being scared as I watched it because I knew it was fictional. But then at the very end, the words of Revelation 13:18 flashed on the screen and I froze. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” All of a sudden, I was instantly terrified! I knew the book of Revelation was in that pocket Bible hidden in my bedroom, and I knew the Bible was true. Could this movie depiction of the antichrist be real? Was the antichrist a real-life bad guy? I didn’t sleep for weeks!

From that moment on, I wanted to understand the book of Revelation. I would periodically read it, but it didn’t make sense to me. Years passed, but that voice in my head never went away, telling me I needed to understand that book.

I graduated from college with a finance degree and soon began work as a consultant. In my late 20s, I began to write a book on the world power structure. I researched who owned the natural resources, who controlled shipping, transportation, and air travel, and most importantly, the money system. I knew somehow it was tied to the book of Revelation because I remembered Revelation 13:17 said that “no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” I wanted to include Revelation as the final conclusion of my book, but I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t understand the basic principles of Bible study that would allow me to read and understand Revelation. I finally gave up on the project.

Understanding and Sharing

A few years later as I was driving home from the Detroit airport after spending the week working in Chicago, I passed a small sign in a church yard that said “Daniel & Revelation Seminar.” It caught my attention and something in my heart said, Go back. Maybe these people can help you understand Revelation. I was already three miles down the road, but I turned the car around and drove back to that small church. When I arrived, the speaker was already in the middle of his presentation, but I instantly recognized that the Scriptures being shared that night were true. I attended the seminar on Saturdays and took the Bible lesson material back with me to Chicago. I studied diligently for about ten months and not only gained an understanding of Revelation, but the rest of the Bible now made sense. I realized Revelation was just the climax of the whole Bible, and in order to understand it you have to study all of Scripture.

Eventually, I made my decision to be baptized and decided to go to a mission college where I could do an in-depth study of Revelation. I closed down my apartment in Chicago, quit my profession as a consultant, and traveled to South Dakota, where for three months I read and studied the Bible. After I began giving Bible studies in nearby towns, I saw families give their hearts to Christ and make decisions for eternity. It was incredible!

Today I am a Seventh-day Adventist minister, and my greatest joy is sharing the Bible with others and watching it transform their lives. I regularly teach seminars on the book of Revelation, just like the one I attended years ago. Every time, I see people fall in love with Jesus as the Bible comes alive to them. I am forever grateful someone gave me that small red pocket Bible. Who are you going to share God’s Word with today?

About the author

Steve Schefka pastors two churches in Michigan. He and his wife, Staci, love ministering together in sharing God’s Word with others.