Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Think about the Bibles you have. Do you have a favorite Bible? Are there certain ones you received at significant times in your life?
I still have the third-grade Bible I received. Because it is a King James Version, it hasn’t been used very much. I have a couple Bibles I received at Confirmation. It didn’t make sense to receive a Bible after completing Confirmation. That’s why the confirmation students I have worked with received a Bible at the beginning of Confirmation.
When I started seminary, all students had to purchase a specific Oxford Annotated NRSV Bible. It cost something like $65. Six months after Rick and I were married, we honeymooned on a mission trip to Brownsville, TX. Rick decided to stay in Texas a couple more weeks beyond the trip. The only Bible we brought along was this NRSV Bible. I left with the other folks, leaving behind Rick and my Bible. Rick brought back the Greyhound bus. He checked two bags: one with tools and another with his clothes and my Bible. The tool bag eventually made it back to Madison. The other bag never did. Rick felt awful that my Bible was now in the land of unclaimed luggage at some bus terminal. Our hope is someone found the Bible and made it their own.
I have a variety of Bibles in a variety of translations, sizes and styles. I have a small Bible I can easily take on pastoral calls. When people see the tiny type, they gasp. I have a couple Bibles I use personally. When I began serving churches, a kind man gave me a nice Bible in which my sermon pages fit perfectly. I have used this Bible to preach nearly every sermon. It is quite worn these days.
In order for a person to develop their spiritual nature, it is vital to have a Bible that he or she really likes, is age and style appropriate. Recently, my nephew Kevin called. He joined a Youth Group. But his Bible is the early-reader Bible. He wanted a suggestion for a teen Bible. I gladly offered to get the Bible for him. When I stopped at my other sister’s house recently, another nephew Zach was returning from church, carrying the Bible I’d given him. These moments make my heart sing.
Where is your favorite Bible? Has it been used lately or is it just collecting dust on top of it? Like Kevin, do you lack an appropriate Bible? If you’d like a more user-friendly Bible, get yourself a different Bible NOW. It is vital for your spiritual development.
How long would you expect your car to run without gas? Our Bibles should be the fuel that sparks our spiritual lives. Would you let your car run down to empty and expect it to run? Hardly. Would you put gas in your vehicle that has been sitting in a barrel for five years and expect it to run as usual? Probably not. How well would your diesel vehicle run with unleaded fuel? Dismally. Then why do we expect our spiritual lives to grow without the fuel of an appropriate Bible?
If you have a Bible you enjoy, go get it. Hold it in your hands. Thumb through it and look for parts you have forgotten about or never discovered. Place your hand on top of it and pray:
Lord God: thank you for this book which tells me your story. Thank you for the thousands of people whose spiritual journeys are recorded in this book. Now, help me make it my story. May your story and the stories of others help me discover what it means to be a follower of you. Thank you for making your Holy Words available to me. Speak to me often as I read your story. May these words become the fuel of my spiritual journey. Amen.
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