Before you Google it, that’s a lover of books.
Not that I just love reading books, mind. I love the books themselves.
I love looking at interesting covers, bindings, media, paper edges (yes, paper edging).
I love to keep books looking as new as possible and in good condition, which in and of itself isn’t so bad.
The issue is this: the nicer/more expensive the book, the more likely I am to handle it with extreme care.
And by extreme care I mean never use it. Oh, I will go on about how I will, and I may take it down from the shelf and carefully read it on my desk, but then it goes back to be admired from afar.
For some books, like my limited edition copy of Lord of the Rings or my early edition of Tom Sawyer, it’s not a bad practice.
For my Bible? Not so much.
For my birthday a couple of years ago, I got an ESV Personal Size Reference Bible, bound in beautiful faux leather and gilt edged pages. It’s a beautiful book.
It’s so beautiful I never use it.
Before you freak out, I’ve got an older copy that was wearing out (the reason I got the new Bible in the first place) that I am reading right now, but the shiny new Bible gets very little use.
The Bible is so many things, and one of those things is an ancient and beautiful manuscript worthy of special consideration. I’ve got no qualms about keeping a “nice Bible” in the house for occasional use and as a pretty decoration.
But that’s not the main purpose of the Scriptures. It’s purpose is to be our daily bread from the mouth of God. Our spiritual sustenance. It’s also a sword of light to pierce the darkness, and if you keep Excalibur on your mantle, it won’t slay any dragons.
For this reason, my next Bible will be a $10 ESV Pew Bible. That’s right, the kind they put right in the back of pews.
They are surprisingly durable, in a good clear font, and portable. It will probably wear out in a few years, but it costs $10.
But these aren’t the only reasons. Another is proselytizing.
See, if I am out and I meet someone who is interested in Christianity but I am not likely to see again, I want to give them a Bible right then so they can start learning about God. If I’ve got my $30-50 shiny leather Bible, the temptation to not do this is overwhelming. But if what I carry is just another $10 pew Bible? Sure, take it. I’ll stop by the store and pick up another. There’s also something to be said when you give a potentially new believer not just a Bible you have on hand, but your Bible.
I’m hoping and praying, by making this change, I’ll become more flexible, portable, and usable by God. It seems silly, but for a bibliophile like me, it’s necessary.
Why am I telling you? Because I know I’m not alone here. There are more of you like me out there, clinging to your shiny Bibles as baubles to be preserved instead of bread to be ingested and sword to be wielded.
Just the other day, I offered my shiny Bible to a friend to use. Their response? “I don’t want that. It’s too nice a Bible and I’m afraid I’ll ruin it.”
Yeah, that’s not good.