Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Parents' Bibles

Among my treasured childhood memories, I would include my parents' Bibles.

For years my dad taught an adult Bible class at our church. With long work hours and family responsibilities, he usually studied on Saturday evenings for the class he would lead the next day. He had a great big Holman Study Bible, filled with charts and notes. He'd sit on the couch in the Family Room, his material spread out around him, and work on his lesson.

Dad's Bible was the victim of a flood. My grandparents had stopped by to show us their new car and we all ran outside to see it. Mom had been filling the sink and, in our excitement, no one thought to turn off the water. When we returned, the sink had overflowed and there was water all over the counters and floor, and in the drawer where Dad's Bible was kept. Already large, the Bible was now nearly doubled in size with its swollen pages.

On day Dad was looking for something he'd slipped into his Bible, maybe sermon notes or a bulletin. Because of the number of extra items stuffed between the Bible's pages, he was having trouble finding the one he wanted. He looked up and said sheepishly, "This is my briefcase."

Mom's Bible survived the flood. It was on top of the refrigerator, open to one of the passages she memorized while she ironed or baked -- the book of James, Psalms 23 and 91, the Beatitudes in Matthew, and several others. Sometimes she'd ask us to listen as she practiced her latest verses.

Mom memorized in King James, but she had other versions as well. Every year she'd read through the Bible, a different translation each time. I'd often come into the Family Room to see her in the same spot where Dad sat as he studied his lesson, quietly reading the Scripture. When we were older she attended Bible Study Fellowship until she completed the program.

Mom is reading in John now; Dad is reading through 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. They take the Bible seriously. They are "doers of the word and not hearers only," as James admonished believers. They read it; they believe it; they obey it. And we are blessed by their example.

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