Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bible Pride

Now this is a well used Bible! Even has mine beat! ;-)
Photo courtesy of Google Images. 
My favorite Bible I've had to date was a Christmas present from my dad back in 2001 or something like that. I had to have been in about 6th or 7th grade. The tiny KJV came with an adorable green Bible cover that I overstuffed with church bulletins, random notes, and tracks. As I got older I would eventually decide to ditch the cover, but the Bible I kept close. I used that Bible all the way up to my freshman year of college. At least 312 Sundays that Bible was used, and though my devotional times were not always consistent, I still used it frequently throughout the week too. Needless to say, the Bible became old and quite worn. The silver that lined each of the pages had long ago faded, and the binding threatened to fall apart at any moment. But it wasn't until I was presented with a new Bible that I reluctantly began to let it go.

I wish I could say that the primary reason I was reluctant to change Bibles was because part of Genesis was falling out or because I was ready to change to a study Bible or something. Nope. I wanted to keep this Bible because it was so used, and you could tell it.

Now this might sound absolutely ridiculous, but think about it. Have you ever looked at someone's Bible before and thought, "Wow, do they ever even use or open that?" or "Wow they must be really close to/spend alot of time with the Lord, look how used that Bible is!" Come on, I know I'm not the only one who's had that thought, even in passing, before.

I first realized that I had this mentality when I traveled to South Africa last summer. I mentioned before that I stopped using my little KJV freshman year of college. That's because one of the Christian groups on campus gave me one of those paperback NIVs, and because I had never read the Bible in that version before, I was eagerly eating up the Word, understanding stories and lessons in new and clearer ways. The old and worn KJV has been shelved ever since.

As far as the new NIV was concerned, that became my only go-to Bible. In spite of its larger size and the fact that it was paperback instead of leather, I still used it, and used it well, might I add. So many verses underlined, so many notes in the margins, so many things highlighted. And as I became more and more involved with Impact, I got deeper and deeper into studying God's Word, and my Bible showed the effects.

So let's fast forward to the whole South Africa thing. The Favorite decided that it was as good a time as any to invest in a new Bible. (And yeah, he was right! In hindsight, haha) Well I definitely did not want a new one. What was wrong with my two and a half year old obivously well used Bible? Either way, he got me a knew one that I had picked out, and I immediately began going through and underlining my favorite verses. It had to look like I at least read something outta there! You know what was going through my mind? "Here I am about to go on a missions trip to South Africa with a bunch of other students who have awesome testimonies and walks with the Lord and as soon as they see my Bible they're gonna think that I don't spend any time with the Lord at all!"

Reading it, it sounds pretty ridiculous, I know. But that's how it was! And it was at that point that I had those thoughts that the Lord really convicted me of one thing: PRIDE. Did I really believe that the way someone's (including my own) Bible looks was a direct reflection of their personal walk with Him? Crazy.

Now don't get me wrong; I love old Bibles, and I love holding on to copies of the living Word of God that I've had for years. It's nice to be able to hold on to the same Bible; often there are memories and lessons scribbled on the margins of pages, reminders from the Lord written on the extra pages in the back. It's when pride begins to subtly creep in and distort our reasons for holding on to the same when the issue arises.

That new Bible I took to South Africa has gotten it's share of use, but to be honest I have no idea where it is right now. (I moved, and it somehow got misplaced.) So went back to using that paperback NIV, then still ended up switching to a little leather Bible I borrowed from the Favorite. And you know what? Who cares! Either way I am reading God's words to me. He knows where I am in terms of my alone time with Him, and that is enough for me.

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