I have a lot of bibles, which I like. I mean I like them a lot. Two whole shelves of them in my office and several more at home. I think it’s natural for pastors to accumulate them, and I have. They are links to those who gave them to me. One is a Women’s Study Bible which belonged to one of my Homebound members who struggled with cancer before passing away. Her children gave me her Bible after I gave her eulogy at her funeral. I keep a picture of her tucked into the front of it. Another belonged to my grandmother who constantly wrote down questions and thoughts on pieces of paper and inserted them between the pages. It is filled with her and I read them when I get to missing her. I have a Bible from college and seminary. Even though I have a newer, leather bound version of my personal favorite, the New Oxford Annotated Bible, I have kept the big, yellow version I first used at William & Mary. When I look at my collection, I see many different translations, different covers, and varying thickness and sizes, but they are all big.
I like big bibles, and I cannot lie, or pretend otherwise. There is something significant about the size and weight of a traditional Bible to me. It’s hefty, you could never hold one blindfolded and mistake it for a standard piece of modern fiction. Many of mine are heftier than my copy of War and Peace. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Bible should be of substantial mass and dimension. It’s an important tome, and even that statement does not do it justice. There is vital information held between its pages and encased in its cover. Reading the Bible and understanding what it says can be the difference between life and death, eternal life and spiritual death. No other book is so profound for the Christian. No other book is more sacred. While I have several that have leather covers and gilded edges with long satin bookmarks in pristine condition, I also have quite a few that have been extensively utilized, with shabby covers, feathered pages, and various markings along the margins. I can instantly pick out the bibles on my shelves; they stand out from the crowd of books which surrounds them. As they should. I like knowing that this book is different from all the rest that have ever been written and all those that have yet to be “penned.” There is something special about knowing a Bible by sight. Taking one in your hands and feeling the weight of God’s Word.
I know that there has been a trend to smaller, more portable versions of the Bible (i.e. the Pocket Bible), but I love placing a Bible before me and having its large scale dominate the desk or the table. When I’m reading scripture, I love how it fills my area of vision and commands my full attention. I cannot tuck it into my pockets or carry it without feeling the burden of its weight, but when I have a Bible with me, I know it. I am aware because of its size and weight, and then I feel a responsibility to care for it like the holy book that it is. My Bible cannot get lost in my purse or misplaced on my desk. It cannot be overlooked because of its mass. My Bible is the foundation upon which my faith is built and upon which it grows. Perhaps it is fitting that foundation be large in scale.
May your Bible be big, bold, and a large part of your life.
May your Bible be big enough to ground you and let you stand upon its wisdom.
May your Bible be a giant gateway to knowing more about the God whom inspired its texts.
May your Bible be big enough that it will never get lost in the shuffle of daily activity.
Here’s to big bibles!
(Image courtesy of search.it.online.fr)