Monday, November 22, 2010
Correcting the Bible - by Terry Burns
I have a Bible with really big margins, perfect for making notes transferred from Bible to Bible over the years as I have studied it and listened to sermons and Sunday School teachers. Yes, at 68 I still go to Sunday school, teaching a little when I can. When I wear a Bible out it can take me weeks to move into the new one, transferring all these notes.
On a recent visit my grandson saw me studying and making notes and asked me if I was correcting it. The way he said it made me think he was expecting me to mark the errors that I saw and maybe mark a big grade in red letters at the top. I laughed, of course, then told him no, that it was the Word of God and was perfect. I said the notes were for me, that even though the Bible is without error, my understanding of it can be faulty. When someone told me something or I found something that helped me better understand, I wanted a note to help me remember it and I wanted that note right where it could be of the most use to me.
Oh, over the years I've had people complain when they saw me writing in it, people who consider it too sacred to desecrate in that manner. I understand where they are coming from, but I don't worship the Bible, I worship the one whose words it contains. Besides, which shows a higher regard for it, someone who has a pristine, unblemished Bible held in high regard, or someone who considers it the ultimate textbook and guide for life using it and working in it and taking any means or method of finding greater understanding?
I tried to explain this to my grandson, that making such notes didn't show a lack of respect for the Bible, but an intense desire to more and more make it a VERY PERSONAL book.
I hope he got it.
This big Bible is my main repository even if I am using other resources in my study. But it isn't my favorite. I have s small Bible given to me by my mother on the day I was baptized over 50 years ago. It is a full Bible, but is scarcely larger than most New Testaments. Needless to say the print is very small, very hard for these old eyes, but I have always carried it, and usually have it with me as I still carry it each day in my briefcase. It is an old friend and has seen me through a lot.
So if you see me over there writing in the margins (when I can find room) don't bother to chastise me about it. I'm not doing it out of a lack of respect, but out of a strong desire to get closer to the Word.