Jump Start # 2767
Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power unto salvation, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”
It was very late one night. In fact, it was actually well past midnight and in the early hours before sunrise. I was awake. I was sitting in a room, watching my dying father breathe. The breathes were shallow. Often there were long periods of time between each breath. I couldn’t sleep. I kept watching and listening to every breath. I decided to open up my dad’s Bible. I wanted to read but I also wanted to take a tour through that old book that meant so much to him.
And, what I found amazed me. It was a treasure chest. My dad, being the engineer as he was, loved to make charts. He did that on all kinds of things, from the weather, to the temperature of his oven, to gas mileage of his cars. But here, in this old Bible, pages stained and worn from decades of use, was stuffed all kinds of charts that he had hand made. Abraham’s family tree, the lineage of the Levites, the ages of the Patriarchs. His Bible was full of handwritten notes. On the table of contents page, he had written notes and dates. There was a list of Roman emperors. I turned to Genesis one. To my delight, the page was filled with underlined words, passages written in the margins, definitions of words, words highlighted. I could see the years of study and listening to sermons. I turned the page. Genesis two was just the same. Genesis three, more notes, more passages written in the margins, more words underlined. What I found was on almost every page of his Bible, he had written things that he wanted to remember. I found myself reading what he had written. Occasionally, he had penciled in a date at a top of a chapter. That must have been a reading schedule he was on. From those dates, I could see that he had read the Bible through several times.
When I got to the final pages, those blank white sheets in the back of your Bible, his were filled. Every sheet, front and back. Lists. Timetables. Definitions. Passages. Here in my hands was the evidence of a man who walked by faith. He knew the Lord. He understood the Lord’s way. He didn’t just have a Bible, he had used that Bible and worn that book out by decades and decades of reading, thinking, and writing. I showed that old Bible to my preaching son, Jordan. And, as I watched him flip, oh so carefully through my dad’s Bible, it looked like he was holding the original Declaration of Independence. My eyes teared as his eyes teared. We were beholding the most precious thing my dad owned, his old Bible. It was that very Bible that taught my dad how to walk with the Lord. It was that very Bible that comforted dad when my mom passed away. And, it was that very Bible that gave him hope and assurance when it came time for him to pass through that doorway of death. It was that very Bible that opened his eyes to what Heaven would be like.
My dad’s old Bible is a great reminder to all of us:
First, make your Bible yours. Put things in it that will help you. Others my not like it, but it’s not for them. Some like the tabs to find the different individual books. If you like that, do it. Some tape clippings of poems and sayings that help encourage them. Be careful what kind of pen you use to write in your Bible. Some will “bleed” through to the next pages. Some highlighters will do the same. In my Bible, I have a photograph of Jordan, me and Dad. It is a wonderful memory of a time when we were preaching and dad was in the audience. It’s also a reminder to me of a generation before and a generation that follows. Each loved and important to me.
Second, there are informational things that you learn through the years that are useful to remember. The difference between a Pharisee and a Sadducee, is hard for some to identify. Write down some thoughts that will help you to know. Certain passages are important to build our faith and establish authority and doctrine. Jot those down in your Bible. Often in a class or a sermon, you will hear the definition of a Bible word that you did not know. Write that definition beside the passage.
Third, it helps putting things in a chronological order. Write dates at the top of a chapter. When was this kingdom? When was that kingdom? When did the walls come down? When did the walls go back up? Have a hard time keeping those things straight? Write down some dates in your Bible.
Fourth, you’ll come across passages that really touch your heart. You want to remember where those verses are. Write those references on those white pages of your Bible. They will be easy for you to find that way.
Fifth, the more comfortable the Bible is in your hands, the more you will feel confident and assured with it. This is the advantage of a printed Bible over an electronic Bible. The ability to have that “feel” in your hand is priceless. The means to “stuff” your Bible with important things that you never want to forget.
It’s been said that if you carry the Bible when you are young, it will carry you when you are old. Flipping through another person’s Bible, especially one with a deep faith and who has walked with the Lord for a long time, is like stepping into that person’s heart and seeing their faith.
My dad’s old Bible, a reflection of a man’s faith. What would one find if they flipped through your Bible? Something to think about isn’t it?