Read It Again For the First Time

For the First Time

A number of years ago our family was having evening worship. We were reading my favorite devotional book, The Desire of Ages, and noticed that it wasn't being received with the same enthusiastic response from the younger generation.

As I assessed the situation I determined that Ellen G. White’s writing was not the problem. Almost without exception her classic phrases and beautiful insights were timely and contemporary. In reality, the King James Version references were dating the book. The "thees and thous" and other archaic words unfamiliar to many of today’s generation were discouraging them from reading these precious Christ-centered messages.

A New Concept

So we began thinking, working and praying on a concept. Others have attempted rewrites before or abbreviated versions. This one would merely be using the New King James Version (NKJV) to replace the antiquated language. Ellen G. White did something similar herself. She used the best translation she could find, and then, under divine inspiration, commented on it. As we looked at today's available translations we realized that for accuracy and consistency the NKJV worked best.

Using the expertise of Ty Gibson and James Rafferty of Light Bearers Ministry; some Laurelwood Academy students' computer skills; Dale Galusha, Pacific Press Publishing Association president; Matthew McVane, MCM Design Studio president; Darrel Tank, a renowned Adventist artist; and a very generous gift from a donor, we now have the finished product in hand.

When we introduced this new edition at our September Northwest Adventist Leadership Convention it was met with enthusiastic applause. People are truly excited about making this wonderful gift from the Lord available to this generation. Walla Walla College plans to use it in Bible classes. Others are already considering these as Christmas gifts for business associates, family members and neighbors.

Complimentary Gift for You

The great news is that because of the generous donation we received (with some money still to be raised) we plan to send a complimentary copy to each family on our GLEANER mailing list just before Christmas. And, our local conference presidents are encouraging all of us, as Northwest Adventist members, to read through The Desire of Ages during 2007. It only takes two-and-a-half pages per day, on average, to read the entire book through in a year. Yes, I know many of us have read it before, but this new edition gives us an additional reason to pick it up again and read it with new eyes and new understanding. Our theme is “Read It Again for the First Time.” As we receive additional donations, we hope to send a complimentary edition to nearly 20,000 non-Adventist clergy in the Northwest before Easter.

Club-of-the-Month Book

Not everyone has had the opportunity to learn to appreciate this book as we have. Even when Ellen G. White was alive she had her skeptics. In the 1960s and '70s some of her books were used as “club-of-the-month” books to beat people over the head. Then in recent years the “Red Books” have become the “Un-read Books” on too many shelves. Yet our church would not be what it is today without this blessing from God. Many of us can testify to the personal and spiritual impact of these beautiful presentations on the life of Christ.

The Best Christmas Gift

So are we excited? Absolutely! This gives each of us an opportunity to get involved. You can pray for the success of the project and join together with us as we “Read It Again for the First Time.” And you can pick up additional copies through the ABC to share with your family or friends. In this violent and uncertain world, what better Christmas gift could be given than that which The Desire of Ages contains, the Prince of Peace and the hope of a certain future.

December 01, 2006 / Editorial