Respect – Battered Bibles
The students had faithfully taken their Bibles to class: How can you study Holy Scripture if you do not have a Bible with you? It is the most important tool, and the word tool is used with due reverence for it stands for the Word of God.
The students were working quietly, at least most of them. One was drawing lines on the sides, making patterns that looked like a maze. This focused my attention on the state of the students' Bibles. The condition of the copies of Holy Writ were far from perfect. One missed the front cover and the first number of pages were crumbled. Another had no cover at all, and the first and last few pages were missing. Closer scrutiny revealed that many Bibles had large parts highlighted in modern colours. Notes were written in the margin. These Bibles really showed signs of being used intensely.
It is of course a good sign that Bibles show that they are being used. If a copy is and remains in perfect condition over a longer period of time, one may conclude that it is not used at all! Then it seems that it has been on the shelf, and the only change is the dust it has been collecting. Believers have Bibles to be used for their intended purpose: study their contents thoroughly and with great dedication. This may result in signs of wear and tear. The house Bible may have sticky spots on it as a result of jam or peanut butter. Your study Bible may contain notes that you made from hearing a sermon. At the moment you heard the minister give a striking exegesis you quickly took your pen and scribbled a note.
Still, there is more to be said. Are Bibles not often treated carelessly, more or less like the daily newspaper or a cheap novel? How often do we not toss a Bible in a certain spot, or as students cram it in a bag or a locker? In most homes there are many Bibles, and this abundance may cause negligence on the part of the user. Do we show sufficient respect for the Word of God? My father had difficulty throwing out old, worn-out Bibles. He thought it disrespectful to consider a Bible trash. He tucked them away, rather than disposing of them.
We own Bibles to be used. Does the way we take care of them show due respect for the LORD who makes Himself known in His Word?