I love my Bible. I guess this should come as no surprise to those who know my vocation. I am a conservative evangelical pastor who holds God’s Word as the final measure of all things. Words like inerrant and infallible fit nicely in my mouth. Scholars like John Frame, who insist that there are no errors in the Scriptures since it is divine speech, have my agreement. I am a biblical guy.
But that is not what I mean when I say that I love my Bible. I am referring to the deep affection I have to a particular bound version that belongs to me. I love ‘my’ Bible. I have collected quite an assortment of Bibles over the years (an occupational trait). I have electronic and bound copies of most of the popular translations and cherish them all, but when I think of ‘my’ Bible I am referring to my latest addition. I love my English Standard Version that was printed and bound by Cambridge University Press.
Early in the year I was at a gospel conference and between sessions I indulged in my favorite vice—roaming through aisles of books. All the major publishing houses had vendors stationed in a massive hall promoting and selling their latest works. Best of all, they sell these books at huge discounts.
It’s not a pretty picture. As I hurry about the displays I grow increasingly frantic with urgency. By the time I came upon the Bible section my eyes were wild and I may have been panting. I told you—it’s not pretty. But in an instant I grew still and focused. There, on the lip of the table, sat ‘my’ Bible. Even with the discount it was expensive, but desire outweighed caution and I bought it hurriedly. Such impulsive behavior is unlike me, but this was an opportunity that I would not see again. I acted decisively and have remained blissfully free of buyer’s remorse. I love my Bible.
What makes this Bible so precious? The words are identical to the version I downloaded from the app store (for free mind you), so while I am passionate about God’s Word, that doesn’t explain my enthusiasm for this particular copy. I love my Bible because it is a finely crafted example of quality book making. Cambridge Bibles use excellent materials and are fastidious in their binding of the book. The pages are sewn together and not glued. The benefit of this is a Bible that lays open to any page without collapsing closed. That’s a nice feature and it adds to the enjoyment of handling the Bible. And therein is the source of my love. I am a tactile person (I like touching and feeling stuff) and the feel of this Bible is delightful. Holding my Bible is pleasurable and it adds enjoyment to my devotional time. I love my Bible.
This commitment to a physical book may surprise those who watch me preach. The only thing I carry on stage is a tablet. An electronic Bible is an effective tool for the stage but in my devotional time I prefer to handle God’s Word. There is, for me, significance in the heft of the book, a reverence in turning a page. Because I am so tactile, the joy I experience in handling my Bible adds to the worship experience.
Does this mean that everyone who read this post should by a Cambridge Bible? Not necessarily, no. Not everyone is like me (and we all rejoice!). But what I would like you to do is add value to your Bible reading. Find a place/time/way to make your reading of Scripture momentous. Create an experience where time in God’s Word is something to be cherished. Our God speaks to us, and it would serve us well to shape a space and time to hear Him well and delight in what we have heard. Learn to love your Bible.