Friday, 1 May 2015

of Antique Bibles and Dust Collectors

Tonight as I took a break from my studies (yes, I'm back in school yet again), I glanced around my home office and noticed how many Bibles I had on my shelves. On top of that, I also have a few more favourite versions scattered around my favourite chair in the living room. Clearly, I am not a Scripture deprived person!

As I dwelt on that, I became almost ashamed, as I also pondered how many Christians around the world would absolutely love to have even one Bible to call their own, but who do not.

However, to be fair and before I beat myself up too much, we have also been directly involved in shipping New Testaments overseas. I remember acquiring a few cases of New Testaments some years ago, one case of which was in the French language. As we have friends who have served as missionaries to Haiti, and as they were returning for a visit, we tucked all the French New Testaments we could into their luggage. After all, most Haitians are Creole speaking, and many of them read Creole's cousin language, French. It only made sense to send these to Haiti. Others I continue to periodically give away here and there as the Spirit leads.

But back to my own collection. As I perused my plethora of books and Bibles, I saw one little old Bible that I forgot I had. Many years ago, in an institutional church in which I served as bi-vocational pastor, someone came to me one day and presented me with an old Bible he found in a garage sale. It was a clearly an antique.

As I carefully opened up the Bible, I saw a hand-written inscription inside that was barely legible, but the date was still very much discernible. It was dated 1896. As I reminded myself about this treasure, I thought about how someone, now some 119 years ago, was presented a gift of this Bible.

I wondered about who she or he was. I wondered if he or she actually read this Bible, or if it simply ended up on a shelf, collecting dust, as it has in my home. I wondered if the recipient of this gift came to know Jesus, of whom this book is all about. I wondered if one day I will meet its original owner when the Lord calls me home and I too cross from this life into the next. Will she or he be there? Let's take that one step further; will we know each other? Who knows?

In our day and age, many of us do have multiple Bibles in multiple translations in our collections. There is no question that some of these do sit on shelves collecting dust, whereas others become our favourites that we read regularly. The important thing is that we are in fact reading.

How about you? Do you have a favourite Bible that you read regularly? Or are all your Bibles simply aging on a shelf somewhere collecting dust? If so, maybe at the very least, you should at least write this year's date inside the front cover. At least then, after you're long dead and gone, someone from some future generation may come across your now ancient Bible and be in awe at just how old it is.

Now I'm not suggesting that the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that one reads a Bible whereas the other does not. Certainly not! But maybe in all fairness, the person who one day finds an old Bible of ours in a garage sale somewhere, may also ask a similar question, wondering if its original owner really knew the Lord, or was just a Bible collector.

Something to think about. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite Bible is the "Bible app" on my phone from YouVersion.com. This app lets me carry multiple versions of the Bible with me at all times. It's very convenient and it keeps the Bible with me whenever life gives me a minute or two to read.

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