Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 3, 1966
NUMBER 26, PAGE 1-2a

"I've Never Read A Bible Before"

Fanning Yater Tant

"I've never read a Bible before," said Melvin Stewart Pittman, a nineteen year old Fort Worth High School student who has confessed to the wanton murder of three people who were complete strangers to him. On September 1, the youth said, he had shot Mr. and Mrs. Victor Laird "sniper style" as they strolled toward the west shore of Lake Arlington while on a fishing trip. Then on September 22, he said, he had shot Kenneth Eugene Jones in the face as they casually chatted together after a chance meeting. All three of the murder victims were completely unknown to him.

In the county jail at Fort Worth the other day Pittman was reading a Bible which Dr. E. C. Grandstaff, the jail chaplain had given him. He was thrilled with the gift. "I've never read a Bible before," said the teen-aged killer. "I'm reading that part called Genesis now. I'm getting quite a kick out of it!"

Why these brutal murders? Is Pittman mentally deranged? Did the example of the "Austin Massacre", in which Charles Hickman murdered some fifteen or sixteen people by rifle fire, trigger a similar impulse in Pittman? Was the violence and blood-shed daily depicted on television and radio the thing that pushed him over the edge?

No one can say. But we do believe Pittman's comment on "never having read a Bible" gives us a pretty good glimpse into the kind of family background from which he came, and the influences which were LACKING in the formative years of his childhood. His was a childhood in which no doubt his parents were "too busy" to spend time on Bible study; Sunday School had no place in this young killer's boyhood development. His mind was saturated probably with comic book murders, mayhem, and massacres. The ennobling influence of God's Word was foreign to his life... "I've never read a Bible before," he declared.

"What Might Have Been"

It was John Greenleaf Whittier who wrote, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'." Just consider what MIGHT have been the effect if the parents of Melvin Stewart Pittman had had available to them, and had faithfully followed during the years of his growing up, some such course of Bible study as our "PLANNED PROGRAM OF ABSORPTION LEARNING". Suppose, for example, from his infancy, his parents had had a simple record player (cost about $20.00) off to the side of the room, playing a short portion of the Sacred Scriptures each morning as the family ate breakfast. If they had played the "Life of Christ" their son would have heard the ENTIRE story of the life of Jesus Christ (with full coverage from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts) TWENTY-SIX times over every single year! Without any effort at all on his part, indeed, without this growing child even realizing what was happening, these teachings of the Sacred Scripture would have been ABSORBED into his sub-conscious mind, and inevitably would have influenced his life.

But, alas! Melvin Stewart Pittman had no such experience in his life. Instead of absorbing Bible truths, sacred teachings, divine principles, his mind was saturated by other interests --- ball games, perhaps, comic books, fishing trips, secular and worldly pursuits. The one thing that might have saved his life from ruin and disaster, and might have saved the lives of three innocent people was lacking from his life --- Bible teaching.

"Spaced repetition", that is the secret of absorption learning. A little bit today, a little bit more tomorrow, then the next day --- and the next --- and the next. Grand Canyon is a vivid testimony to the power of "spaced repetition" in nature. Grand Canyon did not happen all at once, but gradually the power of a rain-drop with spaced repetition formed this mighty chasm in the earth. The advertisers recognize how effective "spaced repetition" is, for they use it in selling everything from tooth-paste to cigarettes. That's the reason children know more TV commercials than they know Bible verses. And now, Christian families, in their own homes, can put this tremendous power to work in influencing right attitudes, motivating Christian action, and strengthening the spiritual fibers of the home!

The "Life of Christ" album which we use in our "Planned Program of Absorption Learning" contains every word of the life of Christ (including his parables, his conversations with Sadducees, Pharisees, disciples, multitudes, friends and enemies alike, in fact ALL his conversations) printed in the exact sequence in which the most competent Bible scholars believe they occurred. The Great Commission is given both as recorded by Matthew and by Mark; and this is followed (as, indeed, it should be!) by his ascension and by the beginning of the church as recorded in Acts 2. The entire second chapter of Acts is the concluding section of the last record.

Just listening to ONE side of one record each day, the complete story of the life and teaching of Jesus can be brought into your homes and hearts in just two short weeks

and repeated TWENTY-SIX times in the year! That is the beauty (and power) of "spaced repetition" learning. After the first listening, you just set the volume to such a level as will not interfere with your other work, and go on about your business! Your mind and heart will absorb the Sacred Text even though you are not even consciously aware of what you are hearing.

This lovely album, with printed text to follow the narrative if you wish, is available for only $29. 95. What a magnificent gift to any new family --- or old one for that matter. And what a wonderful way to enrich and ennoble the entire atmosphere of any home. It can be used for personal inspiration and meditation; to brighten and make happy the lonesome hours for a shut-in; it brings a worshipful and reverent atmosphere to any home in which the record is played, for instance, while the family has breakfast together. This is an album you will use and cherish. This is the "break-through" for which Christian parents have long been praying. The Gospel Guardian Company can supply you both album and record player. See advertisement this issue.