Our church met in a park last Sunday night, and I snapped the above photo of one our elder’s Bible before he spoke. You notice his Bible is marked and falling apart. It reminds me of the Charles Spurgeon quote: “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” A well-worn Bible is what you want to see in a church leader.
I still think he needs a new one, but he is going through the trauma that I have also experienced. I had a wide margin Bible that was beginning to fall apart after a decade of use. I knew the bookstore manager and asked him about the lifetime guarantee. He would gladly give me a new Bible if I turned in my old one. I couldn’t part with it, although I did move to a new one. You spend years with a Bible making notes in it. You have treasures in your margins that you don’t want to loose. Notes and underlining are a way of making the book your own.
I read a publishing statistic somewhere. A paperback Bible is expected to last one year of daily use. A hardback Bible is expected to last five years, and a leather bound Bible is expected to last 10 years of daily use. Leather is not to make the Bible into a religious relic. It is used because it makes for a durable binding. In fact, if you scan through any old libraries, you will find many leather bound books for that reason.
I have also seen pristine Bibles that shouldn’t have been. I once made a visit to home. The person had a Bible they wanted to show me. It was brought to me with obvious pride. It was still in the box with the white paper wrapped around it. It was like new. Inwardly, I was a bit horrified. I think I mumbled something about Bibles are to be used.
My Bible is now on my iPad. It is what I use on a daily basis. It won’t have the signs of a binding’s wear. But it still has signs of daily use: checked off Bible reading guides, highlighting, and notes.
Which is it for you? Does your Bible look new even thought it isn’t or do you too have a well-worn Bible?