And thus we see in this life that God has need of the high and the lowly, the great and the small, the gold and the baser metal; and out of all, and through all, and in all, He works His wondrous way, and permits His Creatures to join, as it were, with Him in the turning of the world from darkness to His marvelous light. Mary E. Ropes, Mary Jones and Her Bible (1882)
Little Welsh Mary Jones was dirt poor. She loved Christ from the earliest age and studied God’s word from a neighboring farmer’s Bible. Welsh Bibles were exceedingly rare and hard to come by. This intelligent and precocious girl was determined to one day have her own Bible. She worked and saved, and after six years finally had enough to purchase her own. She walked barefoot from her village at the foot of Cader Idris, Llanfihangel-y-pennant to Bala – 25 miles away to buy one from the renowned Pastor Thomas Charles. He did not have one to give her. Her immediate tears and obvious devotion inspired the creation of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804. That organization and its spin-offs have distributed millions of Bible and conducted thousands of translations in the past two centuries.
Although he didn’t have one to give her, Mary’s tears melted Pastor Charles and he nonetheless found someone else’s Bible to give the girl. Mary Jones’ story is an inspiring read and insight into the not terribly distant past. Thanks to Mark Hamby and Lamplighter publishing, the book is in print and available: Mary Jones and Her Bible.
From the Bible Society’s website:
The need we address
Bible Society exists because millions lack the Bible in a language they can understand, in a form they can use or at a price they can afford. At the same time millions still have no understanding of the Bible’s value for them and their communities.
We call this Bible poverty.
The vision we have
We are working to see a day when the Bible’s God-given revelation, inspiration and wisdom is shaping the lives and communities of people everywhere.
Our task is urgent. This is because of what people, communities and nations lose when the Bible’s life-changing message is not theirs.
Our task is huge:
- More than 4,400 languages still wait for even one book of the Bible.
- Though a billion people can’t read, only 3 per cent of languages have the Bible in audio.
- Every 5 seconds, someone goes blind but the complete Braille Bible exists in only 35 languages.
- In our own country the Bible is no longer a point of reference for everyday life.
- Christians often lack the confidence to apply the Bible’s message in a society that increasingly sees it as irrelevant.
Mary Jones died in 1864 and was buried at the graveyard of Bryn-crug Calvinistic Methodist Chapel. The Bible, she walked 25 miles to buy, is now stored in the Bible Society’s archives in Cambridge University Library.