Mary Jones and her Bible

Book Review for the church bulletin:

“Mary Jones and her Bible” by Mary Ropes

This is the story of a young Welsh girl, Mary Jones, who lived in a small village in north west Wales at the end of the eighteenth century.

Mary was raised in a godly but poor family. Her father, a weaver, couldn’t afford to buy a Bible for the family but he did teach them the stories from the Bible that he had heard and could remember. That created in Mary a desire to know more and more about the Bible. Unfortunately, the only Bible available to her was lodged in a farm two miles away… a long walk for an 8 year old girl!

So Mary began to long for her own Bible, but they were so expensive. But she was determined and began to work at small jobs here and there and to save her money. Asked how she managed to have enough to buy a Bible, Mary responded, “I worked and saved for six years. I minded children. I did mending for neighbours. I picked sticks. I kept chickens – oh, I did everything I could to save enough.”

Then began the next difficult phase. There were no Bibles on sale in her village but, having being told that they could be purchased from a Reverend Thomas Charles in Bala, Mary determined to walk the 25 miles to purchase one with her hard earned savings. As a 15 year old, she set out alone on the difficult walk through the rugged terrain, full of anticipation.

Eventually she found her way to the home of the reverend and, after relaying her story, was devastated to hear him say, “I have not one. There are two or three Bibles in that bookcase that are promised to others. I have none to spare.” I’ll leave you to read the book and find out the outcome of the story.

Although we don’t know how many of the story’s details are true, nonetheless, Mary Jones greatly inspired Thomas Charles. He used her story to persuade the Religious Tract Society to set up a new organisation, the British and Foreign Bible Society, to supply Bibles in Wales and which has distributed Bibles across the world ever since.

Read this story for yourself, read it to your children, give the book as a present, and let this young girl inspire us to hunger and thirst for God’s word as she did.

Basil Yakoubi