History of the Beads
The message used by the Bead Ministry has been around well over a hundred years, but it started as a wordless book of colors.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Give me 26 lead soldiers and I will conquer the world!” He was of course referring to the alphabet from which he could craft words, sentences, newspaper copy, and printed books. But the Wordless Book grasps the hearts of men and women without any words. It speaks through the language of color.
Starting with three pages of black, red and white, The Wordless Book was the title sermon preached in 1866 by Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.
We do not know when the gold page was added but with it came the depiction of the eternal paradise we call Heaven. D.L. Moody used the Wordless Book in 1875 and included the gold page. Moody’s son, William published the following in 1900:
One of the most interesting meetings at Liverpool (January/February 1875) was the children’s service, where Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey were both present. Some of the papers put down the number in Victoria Hall at twelve thousand with an overflow meeting of about two thousand in Hengler’s Circus. Mr. Moody gave an address founded on a book with four leaves: black, red, white and gold.
Many have heard of the blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, author of such classics as Blessed Assuranceand Saved by Grace. Children were a special passion of Ms. Crosby and they often begged her to tell them stories. She would take out a Wordless Book and tell them its story.
In 1895 Amy Carmichael took the Wordless Book to India. In her biography, A Chance to Die, written by Elizabeth Elliot, a story is told of how Amy made a flag of gold, black, red and white, hoisted it above an ox cart, and took it from place to place in southern India telling the Gospel.
In 1939, Child Evangelism Fellowship started to print the Wordless Book and added the final color, green, to represent Christian growth. CEF has taken the book to more than 80 countries via missionaries. Thousands in their own countries are now using it to minister to friends and neighbors.
Child Evangelism introduced Fellowship of Christian Farmers to the Wordless Book idea in 1997. The book’s colored pages were changed to colored beads, strung on a raw hide and tied to a walking stick.
The Wordless message is still very much alive and well all over the planet Earth. Have you used it to lead someone to Christ? Come out and join us. You will experience unspeakable joy as you share the Gospel and lead many to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.