Sunday, May 31, 2015

Beyond the Pages

Books tell stories. Some are written through the words on the pages, others surround them. Having recently acquired several of my grandparent’s old Bibles, I wanted to see what I could learn about their Christian walks before they went home to be with the Lord in 1992. I wanted to read the stories beyond the pages of their treasured Bibles.

Two of my grandpa’s Scofield Reference Bibles provided the greatest insights. Both Bibles were unmarked, except his name and a date written on the inside pages. However, there were papers tucked in each Bible to help me make my deductions. The first Bible I examined was his last Bible owned before becoming ill, having 1985–1986 Gideon’s Daily Prayer Guides paper-clipped in the front pages. The second one had both of their names in the front pages, along with the year 1959. The story revealed that:
  • He had a high regard for the physical copies of Scripture. Both Bibles were in good shape and the pages intact.
  • He was a student of Scripture. The pieces of paper included references to other passages or phonetic spellings of words or names. Both Bibles contained reading plans clipped inside, indicating that he made it a habit to read through the Scriptures.
  • As a longtime Gideon, He was passionate about the spread and distribution of God’s Word. In addition to the printed prayer guides, there were a couple of handwritten prayers that included the distribution of the Scriptures.
  • The prayer guides and handwritten prayers demonstrated that he was a man of prayer.

I believe that one of the greatest evidences of his faith is found in Isaiah 41:10. His last Bible had the verse handwritten on an envelope tucked in the pages: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” I think he wrote this verse out when his Parkinson’s Disease was first setting in. Looking at the handwriting, I can see evidences of early hand tremors. While the 1959 Bible only had a couple of marked pages, there was a toothpick in the pages marking Isaiah 41. It seems that this was a verse he held onto for many years, especially when illness came to him and my grandma.

What stories will my Bibles tell about my life in Jesus Christ when my children and grandchildren turn their pages decades from now? What will yours? Our Bibles can pass on a great legacy of faith. May we treasure our physical copy* of Scripture- reading it, studying it, and living it out for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom.

It was a Gideon Bible placed in an Edinburgh, Scotland hotel room that the Lord used to start drawing me back to Himself in 1993. My grandpa had no idea that his grandson would one day be changed through his many prayers for the Gideon Bible distribution- part of the story beyond the pages of his Bibles.

*While I appreciate the availability of electronic Bibles and Bible apps and use them often, I believe that they should be supplemental and not replace the primary study of our physical Bibles.

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