I have been enlisted for several funerals since the new year began, and I will often ask to borrow the Bible that belonged to the person we’re honoring. Sometimes it has large print; sometimes it’s very small. Some have personalized covers, genealogies, maps, and charts. Some have nothing but the scripture and a simple cover.
But when I open those Bibles, I find the story of a person’s journey. Frayed pages, notes in margins, highlights in yellow, green, blue, pink, and orange ink, underlines, dates, checkmarks, and asterisks all point to a person who read that Bible and was interacting with the Lord on it. And from time to time, I see small journal entries about an experience or event that had impact on the Bible’s owner.
This, I believe, is how a Bible is meant to be used. I understand the reverence that the scriptures deserve, but I believe that the reverence God wants for His word is evidenced more in its USE than its lack of ABUSE. And your ultimate reverence shows up in obedience. That is the litmus of real belief. You can deduce many things from looking at someone’s Bible.
What would your Bible say about you?
I have two Bibles that I use. One is the small Bible I carry on Sundays when mobility and pocket ability are my primary goals. But on my desk at home is a slightly larger Bible whose pages are stained with spilled coffee, underlines, and similar notes. That one feels different in my hand, like an old friend. It’s actually the simplest Bible I own, with no cross references or study notes. It’s the one I read just because I want to hear from the Lord. Its language would insult some scholars because it’s a very simple translation. My listening and reading, however, have brought far more intense intimacy than that language might imply. It tells a story about the Lord and me.
If you’re protecting your Bible, stop. It was meant to be read and used. If you’re expecting to sense God’s voice and you’re not reading what He has already spoken to you through the Gospels and letters of the Apostles, don’t be surprised if God seems silent. But if you will open your Bible and your heart at the same time, you will soon say, “Wow—He’s reading my mail!”