Archive: How Joyce Got Her Bible

A personal testimony by Joyce Eblen, Co-pastor, Carthage Christian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio

American Bible Society
1865 Broadway
New York, New York 10023

To Whom it may Concern:

I know you receive many stories about what happens to the people who receive ABS Bibles. Many of these people live in foreign mission fields, but some live right here in the United States. I am one of them. My life was changed by Scriptures produced by the Society and I want to tell you my story.

In the fall of 1972, I was living in New York City and trying to make it in the rough, competitive world of the professional theatre. Sometimes I got a part in a play and worked for awhile. Sometimes I didn’t. (During those times I didn’t eat much.) But whether I was working or not, I felt unhappy most of the time. There was something missing in my life, but I didn’t know what it was.

The previous summer I had been acting in a drama in the state of Kentucky. One of the cast members was a Christian and he shared with me about his Lord. At the time, it didn’t make much sense to me. Then, at the end of the summer, I went back to New York. What he had said stuck with me, even though I tried to put it out of my mind.

Back in the city, things weren’t getting any better. Finally, I couldn’t hold out against the Lord any more. One night, alone in my apartment, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life. I went to bed that night with a peace in my heart that I had never before experienced in my entire life.

The next morning I woke up with an absolute thirst to read Scripture. I don’t know why that happened, because I had never read the Bible seriously before. Yet I knew that I had to get a Bible for my own that day. I had seen the ABS building many times in my travels throughout the city, so I started to make my way up there. Now you must understand that I was living on the lower West Side, so a walk to your building meant a hike of over 50 New York City blocks!! Why didn’t I take a subway? Because the small amount of change that I had in my pocket was all the money I had in the world. I was just hoping it would be enough to buy a Bible. When I got to your bookstore, a very nice middle-aged woman (I’m sorry that I don’t know her name) came up to wait on me. I said that I wanted to buy a Bible.

“What version would you like?”

I was stunned. I didn’t know that there were different versions. So I merely answered, “One that I can read easily.”

She handed me the little gray paperback called Good News for Modern Man. I asked how much it was. For some reason, she looked at me and said, “How much do you want to pay?” I counted out some of my change—it totaled 37 cents—all that I had. She said that would be fine. So I left your bookstore with the precious Word of God. Now I had no money at all, but I was very, very rich.

I read the entire New Testament that afternoon. Now I have several Bibles, but none is more precious to me than my little battered, marked-up, dog-eared Good News.

Who could have guessed how much that little paperback Good News would mean? Yet I know that the Scriptures your Society has produced have worked even greater miracles in the lives of countless others across the world.

Once I had only 37 cents to pay for a Bible. Now I can do better than that, so please accept this contribution with my deepest gratitude for your continuing work in bringing God’s Word to those who need it.

In Christ’s Name,

Rev. Joyce Putnam Eblen

United Methodists who are concerned with the spread of Scriptural Christianity have long had an ally in the American Bible Society.

The ABS, whose “only purpose” is to “promote the distribution of the Holy Scripture without doctrinal note or comment,” offers many suggestions for Bible distribution. These include making large-print Bibles available to the elderly or placing racks containing portions of Scripture in public places.

St. Mark’s UM Church in Atlanta, Georgia, purchased 1,500 Scripture selections on postcards and brochures and used them to decorate a large Christmas tree on the church lawn. Passers-by were encouraged to help “untrim” the tree by taking a Scripture selection home.

Opportunities are also open to spread the Scripture through records and tapes. A motel in Orlando, Florida, for example, has begun an around-the-clock reading of the New Testament in Today’s English Version over its closed-circuit television. Find out about the Outreach Program, personalized for your church, and the Good News Bible Order Agreement, where you can order Scripture on consignment.



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