For many years I worked among the Chinese in Taiwan. I am an American. I live in the United States but I’m also fluent in Mandarin Chinese and I’m able to read and write Chinese as well. In working among the Chinese people, it is important to help them to understand the concept of the Bible and New Testament Christianity. People in Asia, many of them believe that Christianity is a Western religion because most of their contact with religious people are with those who have come from Western countries like the United States or some of the countries of Europe. And so what we try to do is to help them to see that the Bible really is a book from the east. Most of the content of the Bible happened in the East, not in the West. And as we read in the Old Testament, most of the things that we read in the Old Testament happened in either Africa or Asia and very little mention is made of any Western country in the Old Testament. There is an allusion to Tarshish in a couple of passages of the scripture and that very well may be the Idumaean Peninsula which is Spain and Portugal. And so in the New Testament, again most of the things that happen there until the sixteenth chapter of Acts happens in the east.
And when we tell people that Jesus was not a Westerner – because most people’s concept of Jesus are from artists conceptions – Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Israel. Well that’s part of the what we call today the Middle East. And so Jesus was not a Westerner; he was a Jew. He lived in Israel and the church that Jesus built began in Jerusalem, which is also in Israel. And it is not until the sixteenth chapter of Acts that we read of the gospel going into Europe. And so the Bible is a book for all people and yet to help people from the east understand, the Bible is just not a Western book, the Bible came from the eastern part of the world. And so that helps people to understand a little bit about the background of the Bible. And that’s a good thing for Americans to understand as well. And so as we visit with you for a few minutes today we wanted to emphasize the importance of looking at the Bible as a book that was given by God and given to all people.