THE Annual General Meeting of the Trinitarian Bible Society was held at Westminster Chapel, London, on Saturday 12th June 1999. It was chaired by Mr. S. A. Hyde, the Chairman of the General Committee. After the reading of Scripture and singing of psalms, Mr Edward Greene, a member of the General Committee and an elder of the London Free Presbyterian church, led the congregation in prayer. We give a brief outline of the proceedings.
Mr. Paul Rowland, the General Secretary, expressed thankfulness for the Lords faithfulness and goodness in maintaining the work of the Society during the past year. “In the eyes of men what has been accomplished may appear small,” he said, “but the Lords words will not return unto Him void.” In the first part of 1998, there has been an increase in the number of Bibles distributed, especially copies of the Authorised Version.
With regard to editorial work Mr. Rowland said the Hebrew Bible is now in print, and that he has been invited to Israel to discuss distribution. Prayer continues to be needed for possible projects in such languages as Chinese and Swahili. He stated that the Society needs Christians who hold its principles and outlook, and also have the necessary skills and education, to undertake work in these languages. “We would appreciate the prayers of Gods people,” he said, “that He would be pleased to raise up His workers for these tasks.”
Mr. Rowland announced that the Society has provided the Scriptures in the form of Bibles and Ten Commandments textcards and posters to primary schools throughout Scotland. “We are hoping,” he said, “in the providence of God, to spread this work throughout the rest of the United Kingdom.” He then asked, “Why do we go to such great lengths to publish the Bible? We do so because it is the Word of God, the key to the kingdom, the sword of the Spirit. Thus our work is of a spiritual nature, in which our aim is to see God glorified in the salvation of sinners. We must depend upon Him in every aspect of the work, to do all to His praise and honour. This has been our aim since 1831, and now, in 1999, we work to keep that original intent of our founders. May all people have access to the Word of God in its purity!”
Mr Hyde stressed the need that the General Committee has of the prayers of the Societys supporters. Members of Committee often find themselves inadequate to carry out the great work that God has laid upon them, and acknowledge their need of His support and guidance. “By the prayers of Gods people,” he said, “we find ourselves not only staff and Committee but all of our supporters and friends workers together in the great task of distributing Gods Word. Gods work moves on, and we are privileged to be able to be a part of it.” He added, “We have been privileged to have been able in 1998 to spend £363,000 for Grants distribution, to give Scriptures to those who cannot afford them. We depend upon our friends and supporters for this; the demand upon our resources is great, and we cannot do as much as we would like. . . The enormity of eternity is before all people, and it is our privilege to distribute Gods Word to eternity-bound sinners.” The business part of the meeting was closed by Mr Hyde announcing the singing of Psalm 119.89-96.
The Rev. K. M. Watkins, a member of the General Committee and minister of the London Free Presbyterian congregation, then preached from Psalm 40:7, especially the words, “In the volume of the book it is written of Me.” He spoke first on The Canon of Scripture, in which he unfolded how “the volume of the book” (ie the Bible) came into existence. He spoke of some of the links in the chain of that process: how God gradually committed to writing the revelation of His will, by inspiration; how the inspired books, as they were written, were collected together into one volume, the canon of the Word of God; how God preserved His Word so that no part of the volume/canon was lost. He applied the first heading by pressing our need to have the volume of the book written on our hearts.
His second point was The Content of Scripture, in which he showed that the commanding and ever-central theme of the Bible is Christ: “In the volume . . . it is written of Me.” He is the treasure hid in the field of the Book of Scripture. In summary, this covers His being “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”, which is the scarlet thread running throughout the Bible. It includes His Person, His incarnation, His perfect life, His laying down His life freely, the sacrificial nature of His death, and his glorious resurrection. And the volume of the book, Old Testament as well as New, is full of these things, the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. In applying this, he said that as the Scriptures speak primarily of Christ, then what we think of the Bible reveals what we think of Christ.
The meeting was closed with the singing of Psalm 23, and the pronouncing of the benediction by Mr Watkins.