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“That’s a Bible keeper,” she said. I knew exactly what she meant and suspect a lot of you will as well. I had shared a quote with her that I had recently seen on Facebook. There was a time when we would promptly print those special quotes and prayers, and “stick them in our Bibles.”

The Bible is one of the few inanimate objects that you can actually have a relationship with. I remember my mother telling me as a child about my older sister choosing her Bible as one of the items she would grab if she had to evacuate on a moment’s notice.

In a recent study on Zoom, we were asked to look up several Bible passages. I can quickly find a book in my Bible, thanks to memorizing a little song taught by my children’s 3rd grade Sunday School teacher; but I picked up the item with which I have WAY too close a relationship and found them all within a few seconds. It seems like some people think a phone isn't a proper way to read the Bible. But, considering I can find a way to take on guilt about almost everything, I’ve never felt this way. Because, quite frankly, I’m reading and using (more later about the “using” aspect) this fascinating book more now than I ever have in my life.

As I’ve said in earlier posts, I grew up Baptist. In the Baptist church, I couldn’t get away with coming to any church function or even within 100 feet of the church without my Bible. And at that time in my life, I thought that was it - you had only one Bible, and it would serve your needs for the rest of your life. After all, it had all of the marks and underlined special references you could ever need; your name was beautifully written in the front, along with the names on other pages of everyone in the family tree - the dates they married, had children, and died. That information and preciousness must also be close at hand.

I think the process of becoming comfortable with my “phone Bible” in hand began with the realization that I could have A LOT of Bibles. Any version I wanted - study Bibles, hard cover, paperback, with or without tabs. One of my favorites and the one my earlier-referenced children’s Sunday School teacher loved using in the classroom was the Parallel Bible. This Bible has 4 different versions printed side-by-side on each page. It’s great for when you want to quickly see the different ways scripture can be read and interpreted. But it’s still limited to only 4 versions. The Bible app on my phone has 60 versions available at the tap of a finger!

Back to my earlier comment about actually using my Bible...over the years I’ve learned to search through the Bible for lessons, advice, wisdom, and comfort. This is another reason we have a relationship with this book. Some scripture just seems to jump off the page and tell me exactly what I need to hear, usually more often than what I want to hear. But, that is a good thing. I don’t know about you, but I need reminders at times to straighten up my act and my attitude; reminders to, as my dear mother always said, “be thankful.” And some of these verses are so beautifully written, they lift you up and soothe your soul as nothing else can. There are certain passages, particularly in the book of Psalms and Romans, that I learned in earlier versions and I still prefer to hear and read them this way. I still remember some of my peers getting tickled when I blurted out, “...yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” from the 23rd Psalm, King James version (which our child referred to as “the original”). And there are the familiar passages you’ve heard and thought you understood for most of your life, then you suddenly have one of those “aha!” moments and it takes you in an entirely different direction.

Now, I must say that when I decided to write this post, I ran upstairs and found my most recent “real” Bible and all of its treasures. I do love the feel of the smooth, tissue paper thin pages. One year I asked for a zippered Bible cover with handles and pockets to contain all of the treasures, so they wouldn’t fall out and leave a trail like flower petals down the church aisle. What a great invention, I thought. And it is. I purposely used this photo to show the dust that has unfortunately gathered over time on my proud possession. It is filled with “Bible keepers” such as: notes and drawings from my children when they were small; a sweet card received when our family was going through a particularly rough time; a card I had signed stating I was rededicating my life to Christ as a teenager; death notices of our loved ones including our second child.

There is no other book, even with a zippered cover, that I feel deserves the special honor of being the “keeper,” packed to overflowing, of these mementos and markers. And if I must evacuate at a moment’s notice, I will grab my dusty, precious Bible from years ago. Somehow we must have known that was the safest place to store the things closest to our heart. THAT is a relationship.

But for now, since I have this object that is never out of sight or arm’s reach (a fact of which I’m not proud), I can also have access to any translation of the Bible at any time - such as while waiting in a long line for COVID testing or vaccinations, or when the leader of our study says, “Look it up..."

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06 feb. 2021

This is a wonderful piece! I very recently sought out my "real" Bible (a Parallel Bible, actually!) in its dusty zippered cover and as I opened it all the keepers stuck their heads out waiting to be part of a trip down memory lane. And all the treasured quotes and passages written in the inside cover pages, underlines, highlights, are still pertinent to my life today!

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