Peter Waldo was a successful French merchant. Around 1170, he became convinced that the Word of God is the sole authority for believers in matters of faith. Peter, out of his own pocket, had the Scriptures translated into the language of the people. His followers, the Waldensians, did everything they could to get the Scriptures into the hands of the common man, reaching throughout Southern and Central Europe.
Certain Waldensian merchants traveled great distances selling jewelry and fabrics. At the end of a transaction the customer would ask if there were any other items of interest for sale. The “under-cover” Waldensian missionary would reply,
“Yes, great rarities. I have one precious stone through which you can see God, and another that kindles love to him in the heart.”
Then the missionary would produce a copy of the Scriptures and say,
“The inestimable jewel I spoke of is the world of God, by which he communicates his mind to men, and which inflames their hearts with love to him.”
The evangelist would then read a portion and leave the volume with his “customer.”
****The photo above is the Waldensian symbol Lux lucet in tenebris (“Light glows in the darkness”)