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Pencil Shaving

Go ahead, write in your Bible

By DAWN HANKINS dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 1/22/22

Since about age 4, I’ve perused bookshelves everywhere I go. Thanks to my family providing me with lots of books, I began reading at a very early age. But I realize the most important resource I have right at my fingertips—The Bible.  

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Pencil Shaving

Go ahead, write in your Bible

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Since about age 4, I’ve perused bookshelves everywhere I go. Thanks to my family providing me with lots of books, I began reading at a very early age. My 6-year-old grandson, Cohen, is following in my footsteps.  

Of course I still love biographies, novels and cookbooks. But I realize the most important resource I have right at my fingertips—The Bible.  

Now that I’m more of a mature age, I realize it’s about the only book, besides a cookbook, into which my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother ever indulged. They were farm ladies and were greatly tasked to care for all of us “youngins.” So there was no time for browsing libraries.  

I actually don’t remember there being bookshelves in their rooms. I must say I’m guilty, to the contrary. What I remember most is how they took their Bibles to church and read the pages in the warmth of the sunlight.  

I was privileged to inherit a 1960s huge King James Bible, which I still have and cherish. It’s a great Bible with lots of colorful maps of The Holy Land and other biblical regions. But most of all, my granny—a lady I shadowed most of my life—wrote in the front cover that it was to be mine, when she passed. Sometimes I think we leave a lot of “stuff” behind for our kids and grandkids. But just like my Granny Jean, I plan to leave behind God’s Word—not a new copy— but one used and written in during my lifetime.  

Though it is meaningful, because it came from her, more than ever, I realize it contains my assurance for living in this world and in eternity. No matter what happens, the words of the faith are there for me to lean upon, as God intended.  

Abraham Lincoln is reportedly the only U.S. president who never joined a church. Still, “Honest Abe” was public about frequently reading his Bible. He told a friend in the year before his death: “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.”  

Wouldn’t you love to read Lincoln’s Bible? I’m sure there were a lot of notes. Historians note that 7 years after her husband was assassinated, Mary Todd Lincoln presented his friend and neighbor, the Rev. Noyes W. Miner, with a special gift: an 18-pound Bible, adorned with a hand-tooled leather cover and gilt-edged pages, that had once belonged to the president. The Bible remained in Noyes’ family, unbeknownst to historians, for 150 years. The Bible has since been gifted to the Lincoln Library in Illinois.  

Pastors will tell you that such well-worn Bibles are the best. It means they’ve been used, not shelved. So don’t be afraid to write or highlight text in your Bible. While a lot of literature is “never more,” God’s Word has survived wars, floods, famine, fires and destruction. I think often of all the soldiers who likely carried scripture into battle with them.  

NASCAR icon, the late Dale Earnhardt, was said to have had in the end scripture taped to his dash, given to him by “Stevie” Waltrip, wife of Darrell Waltrip, also a NASCAR icon and friend of the late Earnhardt.  

Still, I’m amazed at how many people state that they think the tangible Bible is old school. While there are many online resources for reading scripture these days, there’s just something about holding that book in your hands on Sunday. 

 A pastor once stated in a blog his 4 reasons for taking a Bible to church.  

Reason 1: Bringing your Bible to church will help you to battle your own consumerism (get the TV, Facebook, out of your head, so to speak.)  

Reason 2: Bring your Bible to church so that you will better retain what you hear (It’s hard to memorize the Bible, but becoming familiar with passages is advantageous for disciples of Christ.)  

Reason 3: Bring your Bible to church to learn to feed yourself (Don’t depend on the reason of others, but rely on God’s wisdom.)  

Reason 4: Bring your Bible to church to become intimately familiar with God’s Word (You will learn something different every time you read.) The same pastor reasoned: “In the end, these four things can’t take place for you if you fail to bring your Bible to church.  

God’s Word is a gift. Prize it. Study it. Learn it. But start with just bringing it.”  

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