I’m getting a new Bible. Actually, it is a replacement Bible for one I bought three years ago to use as my primary reading and pulpit Bible. The back cover separated from the book and eventually I’d lose the cover completely. Fortunately, Crossway has a lifetime warranty on this edition and they’ll replace it for me at no cost. There was one condition that I had to seriously consider. In order to get the replacement Bible I had to send them my used Bible. This was no small decision on my part.
Alhough I only had my Bible three years, I had underlined a lot of verses and passages in it that had meaning to me personally. I also underlined important verses or phrases to emphasize as I was preaching. Though I had not written many notes in the margins (I have a couple of other Bibles for that), I did circle words and phrases that guided my understanding and were helpful in seeing passages in the greater context of Scripture. This was the Bible I turned to in the darkest days I experienced in vocational ministry. God spoke to me, guided me, and gave me peace and courage through this Bible. I had to ask myself if I wanted to give it back or keep it.
In the end, my decision to send it back was not as difficult as I first imagined. With this new Bible, I get a fresh start. While those underlined passages are helpful by reminding me of what I have learned, they can be a distraction to what I need to learn now. While the highlighted passages are helpful when I’m seeking a certain passage or verse, I’ve discovered over the years that a “clean” copy leads me to discover important ‘new’ verses, find deeper meaning, and have a fresh experience with my Lord through His Word. In my consideration I couldn’t help but remember Paul’s words, “….One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). It’s not that I don’t treasure how God used that Bible in a critical season of my life, but I anticipate God’s greater work in and through my life in what lies ahead.
I’m getting a new Bible! I’m excited about a fresh encounter with God’s Word and looking forward to how God will speak to me in this copy of His Word and how He intends to use this new Bible in the ministry which lies ahead. Isn’t it glorious how God can give us a fresh start in life even through something as simple as a cover separating from a book?
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