The Forbidden Book

Psalm 27

Pastor Henschel owned the only Bible in

the village of Rauberg. Five hundred years

ago, Bibles were very expensive and there

wasn’t enough money in the entire Austrian 

village to buy one. But Peter Henschel

had been given the Bible by an Italian

scholar, who had also taught him to read.

The words of scripture filled his heart

with love for God and for his fellow men.

Pastor Henschel felt very privileged to

be able to share this precious possession

with others. “You are welcome to borrow

the Good Book, my friend,” he said to

anyone who asked for it, “Only give it the

best care so that it will be in good condition for 

a long time.” The Book had never

been returned with so much as a speck of

dust on it. It was held reverently and

treated gently by everyone in the village.

But then, one day, there came an edict

from the king. The edict forbade the reading or 

even the possessing of a Bible.

After the edict was posted in Rauberg,

pastor Henschel kept the Book hidden in a

secret place and it was only read during

the night.

One night, he got out the Bible and

placed it on the table, after pulling the

heavy curtains shut, so no one could look

in. He sat down and began to read “The

Lord is my light and my salvation; whom

shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of

my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When

the —”

A heavy pounding sounded at the door.

Pastor Henschel placed both hands on the

Bible, as if to protect it, and turned toward

the door.

“Open the door,” he said quietly to his

wife. “It is no use to resist. Only the

king’s soldiers would pound like that.”

As soon as she unbolted the door, the

soldiers threw it open and burst into the

room. The captain took one look at the

Bible on the table and yelled, “So! We

have caught you at last! In the very act of

reading the forbidden book! Give it here,

sir, and save yourself much trouble, and

perhaps save your head.”

“I will not give up my Bible. Go and tell

your king that. Or take me to prison, but I

will not give up this book,” said pastor

Henschel firmly.

“Ha, you don’t fear the king, then? It is a

dangerous thing not to fear the king!” exclaimed 

the soldier.

“ No, I have no fear of the king! Said

Pastor Henschel. “Here, I’ll show you

why. Here are the words of a king called


The soldiers looked at each other in silence. 

How could this man not fear the

king? Did he dare to defy the king? What

kind of power could lie in that book to

produce such courage?

Then the captain turned red with anger.

“Why should I listen to you? I’m here on

orders from the king and I intend to obey

him!” he yelled.

“But there is one greater than your king

and when I have finished reading tonight

you can take me wherever you like.”

The captain was puzzled. He frowned

darkly at the preacher, who sat so calmly

before him. He had been carrying out the

kings orders for two weeks and had

learned a lot during that time. This Book

seemed to hold a strange power over those

who read it. He had only found three copies

 and when he had seized and burned

them, the people had wept with sorrow.

Those who had owned the books had

fought so desperately to keep them that he

had them bound and thrown into prison.

This pastor might not fight, but he had

some weapon of resistance. What was it?

“Well, read then, if you must! And be

quick about it!” the captain barked.

Pastor Henschel turned back to the Book

on the table and began to read aloud. “The

Lord is my light and my salvation; whom

shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of

my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When

the wicked, even mine enemies and my

foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh,

they stumbled and fell. Though an host

should encamp against me, my heart shall

not fear.”

When he had finished the captain said,

“Let me see those words! Are they really

there? Or did you make them up?”

“No, I did not make them up. Have you

ever read the Bible?”

“Well, no, the king’s men have no time

for dillydallying.”

“Then, sit down here and read it with

your own eyes.” invited the pastor.

Eight soldiers, dressed in the stiff uniforms

 of the king stood around the room.

There fingers growing numb as they

clutched drawn swords and waited for

their captain. He was so deeply engrossed

in reading the Book that he forgot all

about the kings men and the king’s edict.

He read on and on while his men were

consumed with curiosity to know what he

was finding.

At last he closed the book suddenly and

stood up. “You won’t part with this

Bible?” he asked the preacher.

“No sir, I should say not!” exclaimed the


“Well, I do not know what I shall tell the

king, but keep your Book and may it bless

you!” The captain’s face was pale and his

voice had lost it’s sharpness as he ordered

his men to put up their swords and leave

the house.

When he could no longer hear their feet

Pastor Henschel laid his hand reverently

on the Book and said “God will see that

the captain and his men come to no harm.

Surely another seed has been planted and

soon there will be a time when the Bible

won’t be forbidden anymore, but will be

the best loved and most widely read book

in the world.”


  Virginia Markwell