Is your Bible a coffee table book setting at one end and big picture book at the other end? Or is it on a hutch with the family pictures? These are fine places to display and honor the word of God, but does it do your mind or heart any good? The only time it is open is to record a birth or death of a family member or to see when someone of the family died or were married. There are 66 books in our Protestant Bible, 39 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament. Within the Old Testament we have books of Pentateuch, history, wisdom, and Prophetic. The New Testament is divided into 4 parts; the first four books are the Gospels. Then we have the history book of the Acts, then the Epistles, finally the Prophetic book of the Revelations of John. It was written over a period 1400 years by 40 different authors in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. In my NIV study Bible there is 2177 pages.
These are the cold facts about the Bible, but it is a lot more than this. It is the living word of God. It has been over 25 years since the first time I read it through. It took me a whole year to do this. I have done this through the years. Plus I have adding reading a chapter of Proverbs a day to my Bible reading. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, so you can read the whole book in a month. Since my father’s death and my retirement in 2016 I have read through the Bible four a times year. Every time I have read through the Bible I see something different or some point is highlighted more. Some of this is because of the different seasons I am in at the time of my life. Also after reading it so often I have started to see how one part of the Bible fits together with others better.
Reading John as a 40-year-old is different than as a 67 year old. I do believe the Holy Spirit also works within me so God can lead me to see or understand parts of the Bible. That is why a Bible should look used, maybe a few coffee stains, verses highlighted, and even some notes in the margins. I hope if someone looks at my study Bible that is on my desk they would wonder why that message is highlighted or what was he thinking when he wrote that. But it would make them read more to see what I might have been thinking.
Just after Laurel and I were married she gave me a paperback book, “Glory of Their Times,” by Lawrence Ritter. In the 1960s he found as many of the Major League Ball Players of early 1900s, and each chapter of the book was one of their stories as told by the player. Lawrence wrote in the preface that he checked as many facts as he could when they were talking about any one game, and he said he could not find anything wrong, even if they could not remember the names of their grandchildren. The reason for telling you this is that I read it so often that within a few years that book fell apart. That is the way our Bible should be read – so much that it should fall apart in our hands, but be glued to our minds and hearts.