Bible leaves 40-year legacy
By Eric Tiansay
director for 27 years, Vernon Henson is familiar with
death. But the longtime Assemblies of God member in
Springfield, Mo., is also well-acquainted with the source
of life for believers — the Bible.
It took him
40 years, off and on in his spare time, but he has hand
copied the Bible on lined notebook paper and he challenges
young people to do the same. He had his work bound in
five volumes with the help of Gospel Publishing House.
since I became a Christian, I enjoyed studying, reading
and memorizing the Bible,” explains Henson, 69.
“Then I found copying the Bible to be rewarding
and fulfilling. The Holy Spirit made God’s Word
real to me while I was copying it.”
Henson, then 18, felt prompted to copy the Bible after
an evangelist came to his church.
challenged the whole congregation to study, learn and
memorize the Bible,” Henson recalls. “I
thought it would be wise for me to start copying the
Bible because I would learn more. You remember more
when you write it down.”
So he started
with Matthew, completed the rest of the New Testament,
then the Psalms and Proverbs.
didn’t do it every day and I didn’t let
it interfere with my daily devotions,” says Henson,
who used a pen and black ink. “I would sit down
and copy the Bible instead of watching TV.”
It took him
12 years, but in 1964, the year his son Jonathan was
born, Henson finished copying the New Testament. At
the encouragement of a minister friend, he had the notebooks
bound like a book.
At age 58
— 40 years after he started the project —
Henson completed the Old Testament.
I finished the whole Bible, it was almost midnight,”
recounts Henson, who someday plans to give his handwritten
Bible to Jonathan. “I just raised my hands and
thanked the Lord for letting me live long enough to
pastor at 400-member Oak Grove Assembly in Springfield
calls the copied Bible “an incredible lifelong
many generations to come, this Bible will provide a
legacy and memory,” says Ron Morein, 40. “The
Bible says heaven and earth shall pass away, but My
Word endures forever. If you’re going to leave
something for your family, the Word is the most valuable
thing you can leave.”