I’m notoriously known for losing things. Ask my wife. On more than one occasion, I’ve lost keys to the car, which have taken days to recover. Not a good thing when your lifestyle involves burning both ends of the candle all the time. Maybe God wants me to slow down.
The reminder to slow down strikes hardest when I lose something that is truly irreplaceable. Like Bibles.
I spent most of my high school and college years marking up various Bibles. Specifically, I had a TruTone ESV that I marked up in my morning devotions (middle Bible in this picture). For roughly 4 years, I would underline what stood out, circle what I memorized, and make bold the main propositions in each text. And then, on a camping trip two summers ago, I lost it.
Or another Bible… this time a journaling ESV. During my freshman year of college, Mr. Brent Belford told us in our Gospel survey class that we should buy a Bible with wide margins, and begin to make notes on the things we were learning. So I did that, too. Specifically I wanted nuggets of exposition that would be useful for future preaching/teaching. So for 3-4 years I wrote down comments, quotes, nuggets. As I continued to learn, I would cross out some things and put in new comments, or write what I thought about the passage. Draw huge lines across multiple pages, tracing the biblical arguments and themes. And then, this last Spring, I left the Bible at church one day, and never saw it again.
So, when I looked down yesterday evening while at Jean Jacobson’s funeral, and saw that my replacement for the above TruTone was gone, I remembered all the seeming agony I went through the previous two times I had lost my personal Bible. If God is the source, surely the Scriptures are the fountain head. The means we see and receive grace. But I had to remember… it’s not about my comments, or my thoughts. They are His thoughts that penetrate my soul and discern who I really am… and show me who I really am. I don’t need all my commentary to rightly read the Word. I need Him to read the Word.
So as I fought the urge to be disappointed last night in the wake of another bereaved Bible (I think I can use that word that way), I remembered that the Word dwells within me. I’ve spent so much time treasuring it, that the Words of Christ perhaps have began to dwell in me richly. It’s not about having the Bible, or reading the Bible. Those are just means to living the Bible… which means living as one who displays God’s own character.
It’s a means to an end… our sanctification and unification with Jesus Christ.