Thursday, February 24, 2011

Feeling Guilty for Owning Multiple Bibles

(Part I of a two part series.)

I own several Bibles.  It makes me feel guilty sometimes. Many people in this world don't have even one, but I own at least 7 of them.  And like my children, they are all unique and special to me.

1. I have one that I consider to be "Old Faithful".  It's been with me for many years, and flips easily to any scripture passage I'm looking for.  I've written some profound things in the margins, and the first half of the book of Revelation is completely marked up with important stuff.  If someone asks me a question about Revelation, and I'm without "Old Faithful", I feel totally unprepared... like showing up to work cattle in high heels. I've just started to transfer these notes into other Bibles to avoid this crisis from now on!

2. Another favorite is my "Pink Bible".  This Bible is sassy, stylish, and light weight.  It matches everything in my spring and summer wardrobe.  I love taking it with me when I'm headed to any function where we might read a passage or two...but won't be "digging in".  Plus, my good friend has the same Bible, and it's fun to be twins. 

3. My Kay Arthur Study Bible is great for digging into God's word.  Her studies involve making so many different colored markings and highlights that it's nice to have a Bible that I'm not afraid to really mark up heavily.  I get a little bit nervous about writing something permanently in my Bibles, but with this one, I feel free to really take lots of notes.

4. My Bible from when I was a kid.  It has my Grandma's "old-school" vinyl Bible cover with the praying hands on it. It's duct taped on the inside, and it has a hideous amount of random highlighting in it.  Some of the passages that really "spoke" to me when I was 11 make me scratch my head now. I frequently say, "What was I thinking when I highlighted that?" and then I laugh from deep within my gut. I have old note cards filled with words of affirmation from my youth group, and there are lots of smiley faces and flowers written everywhere. I like to keep it around to remind me of how much I've grown from those days.

5. My pocket sized New Testament is perfect to keep in my purse for those unexpected opportunities when a Bible would be handy.  You just never know when you'll need it! Enough said about this.  Moving on.

6. I have a new Study Bible.  It is gargantuan.  I refer to it as my "Big Guns" Bible.  It weighs like 2 tons, and it's black....the universal color of all "serious" Bibles.  Because of it's sheer volume, I usually keep it at home for my daily devotional reading, and I never write in it.  Anything that I might want to say about a passage is already there in the commentary, and it's expressed by "experts"  ten times better than I would have said it.  Its new pages are still stuck together, and it takes me twice as long to flip to new passages, but it's footnotes and commentary are priceless to have in certain situations.

 For example: My Pastor temporarily took over our Sunday School Class, and he tends to ask a major theological question every five minutes.  When he does this, the whole class stares deeply at whatever page they're open to, as if by sheer will-power the answers will pop off of the page.  Or perhaps they are trying to avoid eye contact with him so they don't get called on to answer any questions.  Either way, the classroom gets eerily silent.  I don't like uncomfortable silences.  They bug me.  They make me want to blurt out inappropriate jokes to break the ice.  To avoid saying something dumb, I must have the answers.  In order to have the answers, I must lug my "Big Guns" Bible to church every Sunday....because the answers are in the commentary. In situations like this, you must cheat, if necessary. It's the only way to stay afloat when my pastor is teaching.  There are three problems with this.

1. Carrying it around all Sunday morning makes my arm numb, and gives me a back ache.
2.  It doesn't match anything in my wardrobe.
3.  Often times, people ask me if it's a Bible or a weapon for causing blunt- force trauma.
It's not easy to take my "Big Guns" Bible to church, but having all the answers is "priceless".

7. Last but not least, I must discuss my Mexican Bible.  I use it when the Spirit is moving in Spanish.  Just kidding! My son gave this Bible to us for Christmas when he was in Kindergarten.  He bought it with his  "AWANA Bucks" at the church "Christmas store", and didn't realize that it was written entirely in Spanish.  I'm convinced that some day, someone is going to walk into our lives that desperately needs a Bible, but only reads Spanish.  We're saving it for that day.  It may be tomorrow, or twenty years from now, but some day we're gonna need it.  I just know it!

Bottom line: I treasure every one of my Bibles. Each one is a tool that I use for different circumstances.  Like a golfer trying to play eighteen holes with just his putter, I couldn't imagine having only one Bible in my arsenal.  Sometimes when all you need is a chip shot, a pocket Bible will suffice. But when you're going for distance, you've just got to pull out your "Big Bertha" driver.

( I know I've joked an awful lot in this blog about my plethora of Bibles, but in all seriousness... I feel deeply blessed to have the freedom to own even one Bible, and I pray that I never take that privilege for granted, because it could be gone in a moment.)

More thoughts on Bibles tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

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