Too Many Bibles

Author: Carolyn Gard

 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

While looking for a Bible verse to go with one of my devotionals, I decided I could simply look it up on the Internet. I found an appropriate verse, but something was wrong. So I got out my third grade King James version Bible, the one with my name in gold on the front, a place to record births, marriages and deaths (why a third grader would want that is beyond me), Jesus’s words in red, pictures, maps, a glossary, the Harmony of the Gospels, and a concordance.

I looked around, and found ten Bibles in the house. The one my parents gave me when I was sixteen that now has a leather cover one of my kids made at church camp, notes in the margins from Bible study classes, and taped-up pages in the back where one of the dogs was looking for a ‘revelation.’ One Bible printed in 1911 and given to a seven-year-old ancestor.  A thick one with gilt edges, printed in 1880, that weighs about twenty pounds and whose pages are about to disintegrate. It does have an interesting picture of Adam and Eve being chased from the Garden of Eden; they are not wearing fig leaves, but something akin to blankets.

I like the look and feel of an old Bible. One Sunday I thanked the liturgist for reading the scripture from the large Bible on the lectern. He confessed that he hadn’t really read it from the Bible, but from a paper on which the verses were printed.

While I love Bibles, I don’t take the Bible literally, as did one man. He wanted to discover God’s plan for his life. He closed his eyes, opened the Bible, put his finger on a verse and read, “And Judas went out and hanged himself.” Thinking that maybe he had made a mistake, he tried it again. Closed his eyes, opened the Bible, put his finger on a verse. He opened his eyes and read, “Go thou and do likewise.”

Back to the ten Bibles, probably at least eight more than I really need. But what does one do with an old Bible? You can’t throw it away or burn it. No one wants anything so personal. I guess I”ll do what other generations have done to me–I’ll give them to my kids.

God, we long for your words, but we also know that the Bible is merely a guide. Help us to make our own discoveries.

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