Posted in: 2008
By Tom L. Ballinger
Dec 17, 2008 - 10:49:00 AM


By Tom L. Ballinger
(modified and reissued December 2008)


May 6, 2004

Dear Bible Mountaineers:

What triggered this thought was an article I read on “WorldNetDaily.Com” yesterday, “Protestant Pastor’s Bible Preferences.”

Ellison Research surveyed 700 Protestant Senior Pastors in America to determine which translation of the Bible was preferred. 31% preferred the NIV translation. 23% selected the King James. 14% chose the NRSV. 13% liked the NKJV, and 10% favored the ASV.

The article stated that the Midwest and West preferred the NIV. The Northeastern United States preferred the NRSV. Not surprising to me, the South preferred the King James Version of the Bible.

As a child growing up in Dallas, Texas, I never knew there were other translations of the Bible, other than the Authorized King James Version. We memorized verses from the King James Bible in Sunday School and got gold stars by our names. We used it in “Sword Drills,” we memorized the books of the Bible from the King James. Our Sunday School lessons were from the King James Bible.

Having tried to have several books published, I was told by many Christian Publishers that they really preferred to publish works using the New International Version (NIV). The King’s English is too difficult for moderns to read. I thought this was sad.

I view a number of church services on television. Even though I disagree with much of their teachings, I am blessed just hearing what little of the Word they teach. Have you ever noticed a pastor quote, from memory, passages from something other than the King James Version? I haven’t. They may read and teach from another version, but when they quote from memory, it’s always from the old stand-by—the King James Bible. The KJV is very poetic and is easily memorized; perhaps that’s why I love it.

I grew up in a wonderful home with wonderful, loving parents. Our family was not devout, but Dad always said grace at the dinner table. Dad was a city fireman, and the Sunday nights when he worked, Mom would take me to small neighborhood Baptist Churches. As a little kid, I would listen to the preaching, and I seemed to enjoy it. Then, as Baptists do, the last ten minutes or so would be devoted to “an alter call.”

The preacher would make a plea for the “lost” to step-out and come forward. The choir and congregation would be singing either, “Jesus Is Calling Is Tenderly Calling,” or “Just As I Am, Without One Plea Except Thy Blood Was Shed For Me.” That would always make me cry. On those Sunday nights with a small crowd, very seldom did anyone walk the aisle. But, I could always be counted on if no-one else did. I would step-out with tears streaming down my cheeks and go down front.

Mom would get so embarrassed because I did it so often, “Tommy” she’d ask, “why do you do that every time?”

My reply was, “Because I felt so sorry for Jesus. He was calling and no one would come.”

I have often wondered could that little six-year old boy actually have been saved during one of those “isle-walking” experiences?

Somewhere along the line, I had impressed upon my young little mind that the Bible was God’s Book. It was powerful. And, if the Bible said it, we were to believe it. So much so, that when I was a young man and doing a lot of traveling on my job, I would check into a motel for the night. The first thing I would do before going to the ice-machine would be to pick up the Gideon’s Bible and put it in the dresser drawer. I couldn’t enjoy a drink of bourbon with that Book of Power in plain sight.

I even knew where the highway road-side signs were that proclaimed “Jesus Saves,” and “Prepare To Meet Thy God.” I mean, I knew my territory. In those days, traveling for the Dr Pepper Co. in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, the highways were two-lanes. Super highways had not been born yet. I knew when I rounded a certain bend in the road, I’d be coming upon “Prepare To Meet Thy God,” and I knew it even read “Amos 4:12.” As I approached, I couldn’t dare read it, so I would have to look away. It made me uncomfortable.

Many of those Southern towns and cities had Rescue Missions, and it seemed they all had posted on the outskirts of town a huge sign which announced that “Jesus Saves.” Ouch! Sometimes, I would circle around a few blocks away so I wouldn’t be confronted with what I knew was true—JESUS SAVES.

I guess deep down in my heart I knew that one day Jesus Christ would win. I’m glad He did. On February 13, 1963, after being under conviction for a number of years, I knelt down beside our bathtub and prayed—“Lord Jesus, I want to be saved, and I want to know it!” I was and I knew it! I stood to my feet, literally, a new man in Christ Jesus. The burden of my sin had rolled away.

That’s why I thank God for being raised on Texas sunshine and the King James Bible.

Please forgive my digression, but as I wrote, I just felt compelled to write what I did.

Your friend in the Beloved.

Tom L. Ballinger