“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV)
I own several Bibles. Some are different translations and others are study Bibles. Some are marked, highlighted, and worn. At least two are held together with heavy tape. But another two of these Bibles hold special meaning for me. One was my mom’s and the other my dad’s. My parents ended their earthly journey a number of years ago, leaving behind well-used Bibles.
Mom was a reader, not a “marker,” although she did sometimes tuck religious poems and other special memories between the pages. Dad was an “underliner.” Many of the verses he marked focused on the Lord’s name and its power. I smile whenever I come across one of his special verses and think about how he cherished that name above every name. I enjoy reading the Bibles my parents used, and I’m thankful to appreciate the same truths they found within its pages.
A recent survey by the American Bible Society and Barna revealed that 59 percent of Bible users (USA) prefer print versions over digital or audio versions. While I find Bible apps convenient and helpful, I also enjoy holding a print version in my hands. It causes me to reflect on how blessed I am to have the words of the living God within my grasp. I know not everyone has that privilege.
I often kept a special little friend while her parents worked. One day she noticed my open Bible and pointed to the ribbon marker. “What’s that for?” she questioned. I gave a brief explanation of how the ribbon marked the page so I would know where to begin reading. She resumed playing and nothing more was said. On her next visit, she looked at the open Bible and inquired, “Did the ribbon move?” I was glad I could tell her, “Yes, the ribbon moved.”
I like the idea of children seeing the Bible in a prominent place within the home. I also think it’s important for children to see their parents reading the Bible. A friend realized that because she had her morning devotions before her children woke, they never saw her reading the Bible. She made a deliberate effort to change that because she wanted to model the importance of Bible reading to them. (While a phone app is convenient, your children won’t be able to tell whether you are reading the Bible, social media, or the news.)
My parents’ Bibles tell me a story. I see the worn pages, the marked verses, and little things like a missionary’s photo tucked inside. It gives me a glimpse of their devotional life and love for the Lord. What story does your Bible tell? Is the cover worn and falling apart from use? Are the pages ink-marked, spotted with tears, and ragged around the edges? Does the ribbon move (at least figuratively) as you read and meditate upon the truths it contains? Or is your Bible merely another book on a shelf somewhere?
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:2-3,NKJV)