Is Your Bible Worn From Use?
By DANNY MINTON
Martin Luther once wrote: “I study my Bible like I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf. I search the Bible as a whole, like shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb–study book after book. Then I shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters. Then I shake every twig or a careful study of the paragraphs and sentences and words and their meanings.”
As Christians, do we study the Bible enough in our personal lives? Or do we only open it to try to find fodder to prove a point we want to get across? Do we live with what we’ve always learned through others, or do we search its pages to discover the truth? I’m reminded of the church in Berea and how they didn’t take Paul and Silas for their Word alone but went to God’s Word to make sure they heard the truth. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11 (NASB)
Is our Bible worn from use? Is it full of things underlined and circled with notes in the columns? Is the oil of our fingers soaked in the edges of the book? Are our palm prints embedded along the spine where we have held it open? Are there torn pages and those with turned-down corners? When we open it and lay it upon the table, does it stay open at that place? Is it beside our bed at night or next to the chair we sit in every day? Is it our companion that travels with us on our vacation? Is our Bible worn from use?
One of the traits of a Christian should be to know the Word and put it into practice. The one book in our library that should get more use than any other is the Word of God. We should continue to go back to it time and time to see what God is trying to tell us; to test to make sure what we read or hear is true; to give us a starting point for life.
When is the last time you’ve read the Bible from beginning to end? When is the last time you read the Gospel story? When is the last time you read any book from beginning to end? How much time do we spend in the Word compared to other things we do, compared to other books we read, compared to lessons we hear?
One can discover many good authors with great books to read. There are scores of books to discuss any biblical topic and subject we want to study. Libraries contain shelves of writings on Christian principles and ideas. However, there is only one authority, one guide, one rule book, one foundation to build on, God’s Word. When used wisely and correctly, it builds up both the church and us. To misuse it even if we think it’s for a good cause is wrong.
It is a book of power, but to know its power, we have to read and study it, as Martin Luther said, both as an overall picture and as an intimate companion. Pick up your favorite Bible (before the electronic age) and examine it inside and out.
Now I ask again, “Is your Bible worn from use?”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ