International (MNN) — Christian Resources International is challenging American Christians to spend a portion of this holiday season without a Bible. CRI encourages affluent believers to memorize Scripture in order to sympathize with the lifestyle of thousands of Christians who have never owned a Bible.
"I don't want people to throw their Bibles away, but I want people to sit on them for a few minutes and try to remember Scripture," says CRI Executive Director, Fred Palmerton. "[I want them to] experience what thousands and thousands of people around the world have to do every day — people who are hungry for the Word of God and do not have it in their hands."
CRI gets hundreds of requests each month from pastors around the world, asking for even one Bible for their church. In contrast to the limited number of Bibles elsewhere, "the average Christian in America has nine Bibles in their home, and they're looking for another," says Palmerton.
As believers take on CRI's Bible challenge, Palmerton hopes it will motivate them to donate their extra Bibles. CRI's Operation "Bare Your Bookshelf" program, which has been in effect since 2006, provides a perfect outlet to do just that.
"[Bare Your Bookshelf] gives people a chance to empathize with the new Christian or the pastor in developing nations who can't his hands on a Bible," says Palmerton.
The program is designed for believers to donate directly any extra Bibles they may have to people that have no means to acquire them on their own. Palmerton says that even though these Bibles end up overseas, English Bibles are still well worth donating since many recipients speak English as a first or second language.
Palmerton reminds us of the effect just one Bible can have. "If a Bible goes to a pastor and he can use that Bible to deliver sermons to 20 or 25 villagers, and one of those villagers [responds to] God's Word and decides to become an itinerant pastor, and he takes the Word into another village, how many thousands of people can one Bible touch?"