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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Love Your Bible Enought to Wear It Out

By Rose McCormick Brandon
June 6, 2010

Everyone has them — a pair of scruffy shoes that should be thrown away. Mine sit on a shelf at the back door — an ancient pair of black loafers. Miles of wear have molded them to the shape of my feet. When I slip into them, my toes sink into hollows on the inner sole. I always intend to change into garden clogs before wading into the perennial bed, but I seldom do. Now, horizontal grooves from weeding on bended knees wave across the insteps of my favorite footwear.

With its frayed stitching and floppy cover, my favorite Bible resembles my leather loafers. Coffee stains dot its pages, but the burgundy colored Amplified version fits me as comfortably as my old shoes. Not long ago, I treated myself to a luxurious NIV. I carried it to church and to Bible studies and tried to love it. But gradually I reverted to the rumpled Amplified. Scribbled notes wander across its margins. Dates, stars, names and arrows draw my attention to verses that have special meaning. I love its wordiness. Others may find the bracketed alternate meanings an interruption, but I find myself wishing for more explanation.

A Bible should become as personal as a pair of well-worn sneakers. Once a new believer picked up my Bible from our coffee table — at that time I used a leather-bound Scofield KJV study Bible, with my name embossed in gold on the cover. I’d owned it for several years, and it showed.

“You write in your Bible?” she said.

“Yes. If a verse touches my heart or teaches me something, I underline it. And sometimes I make notes beside it.”

She spent several hours that afternoon underlining my special passages in her own fresh Bible.

“You’re going to end up with a Bible that’s more mine than yours,” I told her.

She wanted it to look used, she said.

And I get that. Nothing is as sad as a seldom-read Bible. More than just another religious book, a copy of Scripture contains sacred words that penetrate the deepest recesses of the human soul. No other writing, no matter how stirring and brilliant, achieves this.

Like comfortable shabby shoes, a loved Bible travels. And not only to religious events. It visits park benches, cafés, Laundromats, airports, trains, buses and fast-food places. It’s not afraid of greasy fingers or breakfast crumbs. It doesn’t cringe when a baby reaches out, as one of mine did, and rips a page from Romans. I taped the tattered leaf in place, and now its stiffness draws my attention to my favorite stand-alone book of all 66.

Men like William Tyndale sacrificed their lives to put a copy of Scripture in common hands like mine. Since then, many have believed in Jesus through no other witness but the Bible. My husband, Doug, is one of them. When we were dating he found the Bible (the leather-bound KJV) I had stashed in the glove compartment of my car during my wanderings from God. Beginning in Genesis, he read every day for months. One day while lunching in a park, Doug read these words in John: “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26). He prayed, “God, I not only believe in You, but now I believe in Your Son, Jesus.”

David Van Biema, religion editor for Time magazine, wrote in his April 8, 2007, article, “The Case for Teaching the Bible”: “The Bible is the most influential book ever written. Not only is it the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year.” Today’s robust Bible sales must have Voltaire red-faced in his grave. He predicted that 50 years after his death there would not be a single Bible remaining on earth. The sad reality is that a large percentage of Bibles lie on shelves and night stands, their pages unruffled by human fingers and free of ink spots.

Helen, a woman who attends our church, found one of those neglected Bibles at a time when she was lonely, depressed and contemplating suicide. Alone in her apartment, she read for hours each day. At night she placed the Bible under her pillow as she slept.

“I found my Lord in this Book,” she said, pointing to a hard cover volume held together with ribbon. “He saved my life, and I have dedicated myself fully to Him.”

Helen is now wearing out her second Bible.

As a fifth-grader, my friend Patricia received a Gideon New Testament. She read it from cover to cover and still follows the practice of reading the Bible as a complete book. She’s lost track of how many times she’s read it through. It’s so familiar to her that when searching for a passage, she often knows its exact location on the page. That happens when we become as comfortable with our Bibles as we are in an old pair of shoes.


 ROSE McCORMICK BRANDON lives in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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