“The primary focus of TBM is to get people into the Scriptures daily. Therefore, I provide a daily reading and commentary, along with questions, taking people through books of the Bible. I also publish other articles designed to make people think according to the will of God,” Don wrote in an email to BNc.
Don is the evangelist at the Northeast Savage Street Church of Christ in Grants Pass, Ore. He is one of the authors and editor of the book, The Balance of Truth and Freedom. He is an enthusiastic speaker and writer about the Word of God.
The Bible Meditator is a free monthly journal, in PDF format only, devoted to daily Bible readings and comments on Biblical texts with applications for daily living. The magazine has been published since 1990.
To subscribe, one needs only to send a request to SSteinless@aol.com.
Following are Don’s replies to our questions.
When and why did you started TBM?
I began publishing The Bible Meditator as an 8 x 14 folded in half, typed on a typewriter on January 1990.
I started it because I could see how every person who came to me with a problem could have prevented the problem or could solve it, if they knew the teachings of Scripture. However, it is more than just reading the Bible, but it is meditating in it. Psalm 1:1-3 and Joshua 1:7, 8 moved me more than anything to publish TBM. Therefore, I provide daily readings and questions and comments on those readings. Plus, many articles address various issues that Christians confront in today’s world.
It was in print then?
Yes, until recently, whereas now it is only an online publication, although I make available a copy online that has no color and no graphics so that people can print it without wasting ink.
Who helps with it?
My wife Kerri, a sister in the congregation, Anne Peugh, both proofread for me. Sharon Stein, a sister at the previous congregation where I worked in Klamath Falls, Oregon, handles the e-mail subscriptions. People can get TBM either by downloading from the web site or she can send it every month, provided the issue is not too large, because some Internet Providers do not allow large attachments. In that case, she provides the web address.
How do you put it together?
Most of the material starts out as classes or sermons. From there, the material gets put into manuscripts in Apple’s Pages and Microsoft Word. Once proofing is done, I use Adobe InDesign on my PowerMac G4 and MacBook Pro to put it all together.
In our day and age, aren’t you fighting against the current by promoting meditation?
Yes, but sometimes a whole mass of people get tired of the way things are and you see a huge shift. Hopefully, there will be a population wide shift someday and The Bible Meditator will be ready for it. Millions love to read and the hope is, we can catch some of them.
What kind of response have you had from readers?
The circulation for TBM is small, but the readers are amazingly dedicated. That has always puzzled me, that is, how could the readership be small in numbers, but the readers I have are very strong in their opinion of the journal.
Has promoting meditation helped people solve their problems?
That is a difficult question to answer. As preachers, we do not hear from people unless they have problems that they do not know how to solve. If they are growing as they should, then problems are prevented. How do you measure that?
What other benefits has meditation brought to you and to readers?
For me, meditating on the Scriptures daily has opened my eyes to see things that I had not seen before. For example, a couple of years ago, I taught the Book of Romans. If you consult the commentaries, they all tell you that the Book is about the righteousness of God. However, when I taught it, I did not use commentaries, except for further insight into a difficult passage or when my mind was just dry. I just let Paul do his own speaking, and I believe now that the first eleven chapters show the mercy of God and the last chapters command us to show mercy. To explain this fully, I would have to do it in person. Simply meditating on the text of Romans, changed me as a Christian. Commentaries are good, but they can also get technical and deal with endless controversies. Meditating on Scripture brings you into the mind of the writer. In this case, we know the Author is the Holy Spirit, so, we gain access into what He intended for Paul or whoever to write. Gaining an understanding from the Holy Spirit through His Scriptures; now, will that help me deal with the issues of life in a successful way? You know the answer!
Don also publishes a twice-daily email devotional for free. Below is an example, from the November issue of TBM, of the commentaries written by Don.
Nov. 8 Daniel 10:20 –11:1
Why the Lord Approached Daniel
10:20 –11:1 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to ?ght with the prince of Persia …” The Book of Daniel is a book of revealing. We cannot see what the Lord does behind the scenes. Yet, He works. Here He fought with the prince of Persia. The Lord could easily have overwhelmed this prince, but the Lord fought on the prince’s level. To what extent does the Lord work behind the scenes with nations today, with the church, with the people in our lives, etc.? Also, the Lord does not work alone. Hebrews chapter 1 makes a passing reference to angels working on our behalf. The Lord told Daniel that Michael worked on behalf of the people of God. Hebrews chapter 1 assures us that the Lord continues to use angels, but we do not know how, Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (He. 1:14). In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul urged us to put on the whole armor of God. Why do we need this spiritual armor? “For we do not wrestle against ?esh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ep. 6:12). What the Lord told Daniel happened in the spirit back then, and similar things still go on. We had better be prepared for it.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three married children and five grandchildren. He enjoys his new home office. http://randal.us