Jump Start # 3099
Psalms 119:97 “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”
NOTE: Monday is a holiday and there will not be a Jump Start that day.
The other day I was working on some projects at home and needed to look up some verses. I had left my preaching Bible at the church building. I had many other Bibles at home, but they weren’t in translation that I was wanting. So, I turned to my wife’s Bible. And, I found myself flipping through the pages, noticing what she had underlined, written in the margins and had recorded on the back pages of her Bible. What a wonderful journey that was. Beside some verses she had made a treble clef. The passages had nothing to do with music, but she, the musician at heart, used that symbol as something special and meaningful to her.
On my desk at the church house, I have three special Bibles. One, belonged to my grandma. A baptismal certificate was taped in the inside cover. Next to that Bible is my dad’s Bible. When I open it, it smells like his house. It is full of notes, underlined passages and pieces of paper with thoughts written on them. And, next to that Bible is my old red study Bible. It’s a mess these day. Pages literally fall out. It’s marked by me and I can find things so easily in that Bible. It’s my first choice and go to Bible when I want to really look at things.
Have you ever taken a look at another person’s Bible? I have a friend in our congregation whose Bible is filled with the names of preachers. Every time a preacher visits, he has him sign his Bible. What a treasure chest that is. Have you ever just flipped through your spouse’s Bible? That might be a good thing to do. It might give you some insights as to what helps them and what they value. How about flipping through your child’s Bible?
A Bible that creaks and pops as you open it hasn’t been used very much. But a well worn Bible belongs to someone who has spent a lot of time with the Lord and His word. Their lives will reflect what they have read. They have sermon notes that were meaningful to them and they never wanted to forget.
And, I know I’m old and old fashioned to boot, but you can’t do those things on your phone or tablet. Electronic versions of the Bible are here to stay and they are so convenient and easy to use, but what’s missing is the feel of the Bible in your hand, the writing of notes in the margins, the key points of a sermon that you wanted to remember, and those quotes that were so impactful to you. And, what I feel is missing in our electronic age, is the passing down of an old Bible from one generation to the next.
Our verse today reminds us of the value of God’s word. As one thinks about it, that word will shape his heart which will influence his choices. Attitudes, emotions and even our words run through the filter of the Bible. The more the Bible is in our hearts and our lives the more it will shape our character into the righteous person that God wants us to be.
Some thoughts for us:
First, make your Bible truly yours. I’m not talking so much about the covers and the stickers that some may place on the cover, but what you do to the insides of it. Mark it. Underline it. Highlight it. Write words and definitions in it. No one else has to understand these markings but you. The more familiar you become with the Bible, the more confident you’ll be and the more likely that you’ll use it over and over.
Second, get a Bible that’s readable to you. Small print. Regular size print. Giant print. Jumbo print. It doesn’t matter. If you have a Bible and it hurts your eyes to read it, then you won’t read it. If you have a translation and you struggle to understand it, then you won’t use it. Get one that fits you and you’ll use.
Third, learn some basic ways that your Bible is printed. Marginal notes, those little numbers by words, abbreviations such as “ms” or “mss” all can help you in your study. Reading the introduction to your Bible, will explain what the publishers do with those symbols and notes. This will make things helpful to you.
Fourth, wear the Bible out. Just use it, use it, use it. Read it often. Bring it to services. Read it at home. The more that the Bible is in us, the less that the world will be. Find out about how the English Bible came to be. Understand the differences in the translations. Then understand how each book of the Bible fits in with the overall picture that God is showing us. Don’t just read your favorite sections. Read the whole story, cover to cover. Go on a journey and look for things. Find repeated words. Look for questions and the answers to those questions. Reading is an adventure and one never tires of reading the amazing word of God.
Looking in someone else’s Bible…that can be a real insight into that person.