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Is Having a Bible Really that Important?

In spite of severe weight restrictions, some famous riders still carried a full-size Bible

Psalm 19.7–11 

By Don Ruhl

How often do you hear of a business that only lasts 18 or 19 months and ends bankrupt, but somehow manages to make itself famous, so much so that no one knows it went bankrupt.

Instead everyone admires the three men who started the company, and the young men who worked for them, and we even have several monuments throughout the West commemorating what the workers did. What they did had to have been spectacular!

The Pony Express

William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell created the Pony Express to provide a source of quick communication between the East and the West coasts. The riders rode galloping horses on a 2,000 mile course in ten days.

They rode from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. The first time the riders covered the journey in 9 days and 23 hours and returned in 11 days and 12 hours. The young riders averaged 250 miles a day. The route had 100 stations with 80 riders and 400 to 500 horses.

This went on from April 3, 1860 to October 24, 1861.

It was not cheap to mail something, costing $5 per once! $5 in the early 1860s! Up until April 10, 2016, we complained about paying 49¢ per once. The new price: 47¢ per once, the first decrease I ever remember.

What interests me are these things:

The oath that the riders took made them declare,

“I,_____________________,do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”

The requirements for the riders:

As one poster advertised,

“Young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 per week.”

Why did they want skinny, wiry fellows? As you can imagine, the weight restrictions were great, the rider himself could not weigh over 125 pounds. A horse would have to run

“…quickly between stations, an average distance of 15 miles (24 km), and then were relieved and a fresh horse would be exchanged for the one that just arrived from its strenuous run. During his route of 80 to 100 miles (130 to 160 km), a Pony Express rider would change horses 8 to 10 times. The horses were ridden at a fast trot, canter or gallop, around 10 to 15 miles per hour (16 to 24 km/h) and at times they were driven to full gallop at speeds up to 25 miles per hour…” (Wikipedia),

through all kinds of terrain, day and night, through all kinds of weather, facing countless dangers, carrying the rider, his saddle, his pouch, which contained the mail, water, a horn for letting a station know he was about to arrive and to prepare a new horse, a revolver, and something else that was not light weight.

Do you know what this other was? A full-sized Bible! Every station also had a full-sized Bible.

Is Having a Bible Really that Important?

It is more important than food:

“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deu 8.3).

“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.”
(Job 23.12)

Here is why it is more important than our food:

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6.63).

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6.66–68).

The Bible does things for us that food cannot.

It is more important than gold and other riches:

More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
(Psa 19.10)

Here is why in context:

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
he commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
(Psa 19.7–11)

We Always Manage to Accommodate What We Want

Whatever is important to you, you will find a way to do it, you will find a way to finance it, you will find a way to have it.

Just having a Bible close by is not the point. It is not a good luck charm. You have it to read it, to meditate in it, to do it, and to teach it,

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (Jam 1.21–25).

Therefore, if you know what the Bible is, you will be sure to have one, even if it seems out of place like out on the Pony Express trail, where you would think it okay to leave it home.