The remnants of the Book are spread out on the kitchen table. It seems I dropped my all-time-favorite KJV maroon-covered red-letter teacher’s edition 21+ year-old Bible when we came home from church last Wednesday evening.
Dave gave this Bible to me for my birthday and I’ve used it (along with other Bibles) ever since.
It seems the puppies found the Bible before I discovered it was missing. By morning Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and parts of Numbers had been torn off, along with the front cover. I Samuel is muddy right in the middle of the parts about David hiding from Saul and Saul seeking for a witch. Lamentations to Malachi are gone.
Matthew took a hit in the middle of the beatitudes and is missing the entire section up to chapter 22. Parts of the dictionary and concordance are grimy with brown, sandy soil. Most of the remainder of the New Testament is intact even though it is spattered with smudges and paw marks.
I had gone outside to sweep off the steps of the deck when I noticed the pages scattered in the yard. I puzzled over who had thrown a Bible into the trash or if the pups had gotten into a neighbor’s trash.
And I sighed because I figured Butch had not put the lid on top of the trash containers tightly again.
It was when I saw the cartoon that I’ve carried in my Bible for years, off by its lonesome, that I realized this was my Bible! My sister-in-law Ruth gave me the cartoon because it reminded her of my sons. One boy [that would be Ben] is standing on a chair by the table with a burning candle, repeating “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” while the other boy [has to be Tim] is not-so-cautiously walking across the top of the table, eyes on that candlestick. It’s obvious what is about to happen. So it’s been my reminder, when I see that cartoon, to pray for my Tim.
Next, I found my still-intact Chronological Bible Reading Schedule and the piece of notebook paper where I’d scribbled the twelve sons of Jacob in order of their births as well as their four mothers. I’d also listed the order in which Jacob gave them their blessings because I had noticed it was not in the order of their births. The sons of his wives received blessings before the sons of his concubines.
Interesting. Those boys never chose when they’d be born, so how did it happen they were blessed according to how they fit into he family and who their mothers were?!
My first thought after finding the dismantled Bible was that I’d put the Bible back together. But the front cover and most of Genesis was missing – until Jason found it next to the pasture where the cows were grazing. I wonder how many hours it would take to sort the pieces and put them back together.
Only problem is, some pieces are too small. Pages upon pages have gouges from a tooth with only a few words missing. How could I ever find those small pieces? I wonder how many rolls of tape it would take to put the pieces together. I also wonder if ironing them would get the creases out enough to have them fit back into this Bible. I wonder how I could ever get all the grit and grime off the pages and out of the binding.
Our house is full of books for all ages, numerous subjects, and several languages. Yet of all the books I own, this is the one I cannot easily replace.
Oh sure, I can get a Bible to replace this one.
But Jeremiah 29 might not be on the right side, right column; and it certainly won’t be highlighted in yellow. Jeremiah 17 probably won’t be on the left side, left column with the words “I the Lord search the heart . . .” highlighted in blue. Psalm 119 with every word referring to God’s Word highlighted in green won’t be there. These words – law, testimonies, precepts, word, statues, commandments, and judgments -will just be in regular black print.
The chronicle of Moses’ pilgrimage with God with words circled that pertained to What is in thy hand? will still be there, but the circles around the words won’t. The crossing of the Red Sea story will be included, but my notes in the margins will be absent.
The pages with prayers that Paul prayed for his converts and that I’ve used to pray for my kids won’t open easily to those spots.
With this Bible, when I wanted the prayer in Ephesians, I’d just turn to that book and find the section, bottom left in Ephesians 3:1 that was easily marked, read that prayer, and insert the name(s) of my kids.
Oh sure, I’ve got other Bibles: NIV, NAS, The Message, RSV, and even a KJV Study Bible with a hard cover. I use them all, depending on what I’m studying and who I’m studying with and for. It’s just that this Bible is the one I’ve used to do my “reading through the Bible”. It’s easy to handle and comfortable to use in a recliner or on a church pew.
There are many other Bibles and choices of covers. And, while it’s true that the content of the Bibles is the same, I will miss this one. Just as a flannel shirt will do when it’s nippy outside, for most of us, we have “favorites” because of the memories in our minds, the feel of the fabric, the fragrance of the moments. It speaks of comfort, familiarity, and home. There is no Bible I own that, if chewed on by our pups, would have grieved me as much.
I’m grateful that the content of God’s Word doesn’t change regardless of which type of cover or what color Bible I might choose. The promises are still there, even though they’re not highlighted in yellow.
Just as He promised, Jesus Christ is still the same: yesterday, today, and forever and this Book will never, ever grow old.
Author’s note: This happened several years ago. After trying several different Bibles, I was able to find one that closely resembled the one the dogs had devoured. I still use the Concordance from that older Bible because it is more in-depth than the one in the Bible I currently own. Yes, I checked into ordering one identical to the one I had owned, but the cost was more than I wanted to pay; and by the time I found that option, my eyes were enjoying having a Bible with a larger print than my previously-owned Bible.