My Bible

Have you ever read a passage in your Bible which made you stop, read it again and again, and then highlight it because it touched you in such a profound way? Later, when you run across that same passage, you might wonder why you had highlighted it in the first place. Or maybe you had written in a cross reference which was meaningful at the time, but looking at it again made you wonder what the two verses had to do with each other. My Bible has been the object of such scrutiny over the years, as I read and read again (Luke 24:32). It is my treasure, my life history, my diary of thoughts and dreams, my journal of progress on the road to salvation (Psalm 51:10).

My first Bible had very few highlighted passages. I remember it vividly as a very soft, easy-to-carry, KJV published by Nelson Publishing Co. But at the time it was given to me, I was a rebellious teenager, not wanting to be forced to read as punishment. Unfortunately, when my mother rebuked me, she often forced me to go to my room and read (nothing specific, just read), and those times were “in my craw” so to speak. The wear and tear on that Bible was mostly to the beautiful Moroccan leather cover and to one or two torn pages after our first son was born. The Nelson Bible itself was not to blame; however, parents of strong willed children should remember such reactions to correction may change the course of a child’s life. When they rebuke their children, they should be gentle and loving and not provoke them to anger (Colossians 3:21).

Another Bible which became my treasure for a different reason was a very large Dickson Bible. It was given to me by my husband with much love and affection. He had inscribed two phrases taken from our elder two children’s oft repeated prayers during devotional times. It went something like this, “May this gift of my love to you help you to be ‘righteouser’ and to love Him in every way you can.” The word ‘righteouser’ was our little daughter’s coinage, while ‘love Him every way we can’ was our eldest son’s phrase. Those were so dear to my heart and a very great encouragement to me (Matthew 18:3).

During the time I owned that Bible, I was eager to put in cross references while my husband preached. It would become my very own chain-reference Bible with Christian, rather than denominational, references. However, trying to get every verse and the notations necessary to explain those verses was nearly impossible as I simultaneously dealt with two very energetic little people on the pew beside me. Often there were mistakes in the chapters or verses, perhaps mistakes in the book references themselves. Pages became thick and worn from use and discoloration was obviously the work of my hands. During my private study time I made every attempt to correct my mistakes, but did not always manage (Acts 17:10-11). That grand old book was worn to a frazzle. It had whole sections which came loose from the stitching; pages were literally falling out and the binding came off. I had it rebound more than once. Finally, I started the search for a new one.

By that time, the Dickson Company had stopped printing Bibles, but I was able to find a photo-copy of one in smaller print from World Publishing Co. At great sacrifice, when family money was scarce, I bought one for my mother and another one for myself. My mother had only a little time to use hers before she passed from this life, but her marginal notes and questions were there for me to cherish. After her passing, I was eager to read everything she had written to know more of what was in her heart as she studied (Matthew 12:34; Jeremiah 17:10). Then thieves broke into our house and her Bible (in a green canvas cover) was one of the many things they took. They obviously thought they were taking a purse (Matthew 6:19).

I managed to buy another copy of the same edition and have again begun to make my own chain references. Someday those will be the lock that opens a deeper understanding to my heart (Psalm 40:8). It is my Bible that contains more of my mind and heart than any other single item in my possession. Again, its pages are getting thick and worn and sections are falling out, but it still serves me well. I pray that I will have time to search and compare many more scriptures on my journey to eternity (John 5:39). It is my meat as well as my gift to my children and grandchildren.

Beth Johnson

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive