My Bible is falling apart. The maps in the back fell out a few years ago and I have scotch tape holding together pages. Some pages have scribbles on them from when my kids were toddlers. The front cover is always bent open from my repeated opening it and the laminate is peeling off. The spine broke and now Psalms 118 to Proverbs 6 are unattached. It has served me well for a $14.99 paperback bought at a Walmart 15 years ago.
The paperback Bible feels like an old friend. I’ve referred to it often in the years that I’ve had it. Looking at it reminds me of the love and faithfulness that God has shown me through various circumstances. It was with me when my husband and I were separated. I had it with me when we were both jobless with a baby and another on the way. In the paperback Bible I read that every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17) and rejoiced when he blessed us with a house. It’s familiar pages gave comfort as I was reminded of God’s love and his promises.
There are lots of annotations throughout the paperback Bible. It is a record of my thoughts and readings for the past 15 years. I made a note of the scripture on the cross that’s in the hills above my parents house in Landers (Matthew 6:33) when they first moved there in 2004. Martin Luther’s words on his deathbed were noted (Psalm 31:5) after I read a biography about him a couple of years ago. I noted the priestly benediction (Numbers 6:24-26) after I heard about it in a sermon about ten years ago. I’ve memorized it and say it to my kids when I tuck them in bed. I’ve also noted how Psalm 66 and Psalm 100 both start out with the same verse. Corrie Ten Boom mentioned it in her book “The Hiding Place.” Have you ever heard of Psalm 166? Psalm 66 and Psalm 100 both start the same, so together they are Psalm 166.
In the back of the paperback Bible I have notes written. The lyrics to “I Surrender All” are written in the back of my Bible. I heard Faith Hill sing them many years ago on “Oprah” and thought the hymn beautiful. I wrote down scripture references that my pastor offered when I needed comfort and reassurance. I recorded the date of my baptism along with the dates of when my husband and daughter accepted the Lord and when they were baptized. There are also the dates of when we dedicated our kids to the Lord. Baptists must like to do baby dedications on Father’s Day as both kids were dedicated on that day by two different churches.
I learned of God’s love for me through the truths written in the paperback Bible. It has only been the past year that I have used the paperback Bible’s cross-reference system. Following the cross references of the Bible’s text taught me about the different contexts that the same phrase or words were used. This has vastly enriched my Bible reading. I gave my first devotional out of the paperback Bible about worry. Look at the birds of the air and lilies of the field. God provides for them, “. . . Are you not much more valuable than they?”
I’ve read my paperback Bible many times and each time I learn something new or see a verse in a different way. The Bible is truly the living Word. But it’s not the paperback Bible that’s important that I keep intact. It’s important that I have the word of God. My paperback Bible has been around me for a while but it is falling apart. It is passing away but the word of God will never pass away. I will be getting a new Bible soon to replace my paperback. Rather be sad that I have to retire the paperback Bible I am excited to see what new truths the Lord will show me in his living Word.