Sometime around my freshman year in high school, mom and dad bought for me my first “serious” bible. It was a Scofield Reference Bible, King James Version, and I miss it. That may be hard to understand but I used that Bible through about eight critical years. Over that time God shook me deeply and through that called me into the ministry. Our pastor encouraged us all, from the pulpit, to purchase that specific bible. It was beautiful black Bible with genuine leather. With this bible in my hands I agonized over passages trying to figure out whether or not I was really saved. I read over and over and over, passages like Romans 8:38-39, John 10:27-28 and 1 John 5:13 among many others. I can still see in my minds eye what some of the pages looked like. But sometime during my college years, after buying another bible, I lost track of it. Several times at mom and dad's over the years I've looked for it through their bookshelves and rummaged through old stuff in the garage. I've looked around at the church where I grew up, hoping to miraculously stumble upon it. Even now when I’m at mom and dad’s I can’t resist scanning their shelves hoping to find it.
In 1982, I bought the bible in the picture below.
I was serving in my first ministry position at Manchester Baptist Church. I bought it from a little Christian bookstore in town. It was also my first NIV. I loved it and it was my primary bible for seven years. It carried my through my last 3 years of college and through all our years of seminary. The seminary days were hard, as I continued to wrestle with what God was calling me to do. Sometimes I still wondered if I was really saved. In those days I was pouring over the sermon on the mount, parts of John's gospel and Romans because those have all become convenient pull out sections from that bible.
At my ordination, in 1989 at Seaford Baptist Church, I was given this bible, which I immediately began to use on a regular basis.
When it began to fall apart some years later, I decided to get another bible to carry with me most of the time so that I would not completely destroy my ordination Bible. Around 2002 I changed Bibles again when I switched to the ESV as my primary translation for preaching and teaching.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve increasingly used Bible software for study and now even reading. I’m fascinated with all that I can do with free bible study resources, not to mention bible software. But I have to admit, after years of increasingly consuming scripture through a computer, I miss having a physical copy of the scriptures that tells my history like those first couple of bibles did.
I would love to have a part in provoking you to purchase a bible that could become such a part of your life. But as this is now long, I’ll hold my recommendations for my next post.
Sunday at Bethany Place I’m beginning a new series called How Believers Grow: It’s Not What You Think. I’m continuing in Galatians but with a different focus on the middle chapters of the book. Sunday’s message is called Pushing the Rope from Galatians 3:1-14. You can see the outline and discussion questions by clicking here.