On the shelf behind my desk, there is a Bible published in 1929. It
was here before I got here, and every once in a while I pull it down
and flip through the pages. It is a well worn Bible, with a few layers
of different eras of tape holding the binding together. Time has aged
the book, but its previous owner is the one who wore it out.
I know nothing about the original owner, but can make a few assumptions.
One: he read his Bible. Passages throughout are underlined and
circled, with notes filling the margins.
Two: he read it to inform his life. Much of what was underlined is
instruction, and many of the notes are notes to himself.
Three: he read it a lot and knew it. Before the days of google and
Bible apps, he wrote parallel verses and tie ins with other parts of
Four: he loved his Bible. This relic is falling apart because it was
so well used, not because it has been on a shelf. Its owner did his
best to keep it together because it did its best to keep him together.
Thus five: he loved God enough to learn from Him, and trusted Him
enough to keep reading. When we need to hear, see, and experience God
bad enough, we stop trying to find it everywhere else and look
intently where He has already shown and is constantly speaking: in His
Word. When we love God, we not only talk to Him through prayer – we
also listen to Him. When we love God, we not only try to “be good,” we
not only read about all the other imperfect people in the Bible (and
how God still worked through them) but also about the perfection of
Christ in example and wisdom.
The Bible scholar Charles Spurgeon is quoted as aptly saying, “A Bible
that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
Now, it’s not a contest, and a tattered Bible doesn’t make you holy.
But it’s worth some serious reflection: what would your Bible look
like if you just put a few fingerprints on it a day for the next ten
years? What would your life look like?
In this Bible, underlined in blue pencil, 1 Peter 3: 15 reads, “Be
ready always to give answer to every person that asketh you a reason
concerning the hope that is in you.” Ask, seek, knock – it will be
See you at the watering hole.
Sean King is the Pastor for First Christian Church of Cisco.