National Bible Sunday


Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
National Bible Sunday

Picture courtesy of My Bible

On National Bible Sunday I can not help thinking about the young girl Tarore and her treasure. Tarore is formally remembered on the 19th of October in our Lectionary Calendar. But the story of her treasure shows the strength and power of the word of God.

Tarore won a prize from the one of the first Mission schools in New Zealand. One of the very first copies from William Colenso’s press, of the Gospel of Luke in Te Reo, the language of her heart. She rightly considered it a great Treasure, a taonga. She read it to her parents and her father, a chief (rangatira) of his iwi became a believer.

The tribe heard that a raiding party was coming from an ememy tribe and sent the children away to safety over the ranges. It was a long distance for the children and they stopped for the night in the Kaimai Ranges at the foot of the Wairere Falls. That night a raiding party from the Arawa tribe found them. Torore was killed in her sleep. They took her Gospel of Luke thinking it must be a treasure because Tarore carried it in a kete (a woven bag made from flax) around her neck. The other children escaped into the forest.

When her Gospel was eventually read to those who took it, by a released slave who had been taught to read by missionaries in the Bay of Islands, it had a huge impact. They became believers. The ex-slave took it with him and it was passed on to Tamihana Te Rauparaha, the son of the great chief Te Rauparaha. He and his cousin carried it down through Te Waipounamu (The South Island) bringing hundreds to Jesus. Through Tarore's gospel – peace came to tribes that had been bitter enemies, and the word of God spread among the Maori long before they ever saw a missionary.

Today the Bible Society of New Zealand still strives to continue the work that William Colenso, Tarore and many others began. To make the Bible accessible to everyone and to encourage interaction with it.

To teach everyone – what Tarore knew, that the Bible is a taonga – a treasure that should be greatly valued. That it is not just a history book, and a book full of good advice and sound wisdom, but that it is the inspired word of God, a Guide to life to help us live right in this life and prepare us for the next.

To support the Bible Society or to learn more about the work that they are still doing Click here to visit their website.