Jordan B. Davis
Church Relations Officer
Do you remember your first Bible? I do. It was a small red story Bible with a drawing of Noah’s ark on the front. I remember receiving it as a very young child when I first started Sunday School at my church. Over the next several years I received a few more age appropriate Bibles- one was silver and sparkly with fun quips in the columns that made what I read more interesting; the next had colorful pages throughout and highlighted a common topic for teens and gave scripture references for the topic. As I got older, the Bibles got less colorful but more detailed in their study notes. Each Bible carries memories of my friends as well, those who sat by my side from a very early age as we learned to read and understand beyond the pictures of the first little red Bible and dig into those hard-hitting topics in our middle-school Bible. If I were to shake my Bible, I might even find a note or two that falls out from between the pages that was passed between best friends during worship.
Our first Bibles are filled with so much more than just scripture. They are filled with the love and memories with our Sunday School teachers and those who sat around the small table with us. They are filled with prayers for our faith journey from the person who wrote each of our names inside the cover and presented them to us that Sunday morning. We may not use these Bibles anymore, but many of us can still find them on our shelves or might have passed them on to our children (I ended up passing along my red Bible when I saw my niece fall asleep with it repeatedly!).
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church has added a very special element to the Bibles given to their confirmands each year. In the weeks leading up to the start of the new Sunday School year, members of the congregation are given the opportunity to donate $15 to help purchase a Bible for one of the youth and asked to include their favorite scripture and/ or a prayer for that youth. The scriptures and prayers will be written in the front cover and become a special part of that child’s faith journey. Whenever they open their Bible to study for confirmation or to read on their own, they will be reminded that they are not alone in their journey and others are praying for them.
In the Presbyterian Church (USA), Scripture is authority and “rule of faith and life”. The Bible is where we are able to dig deeper and explore the history of those stories we learned through pictures as toddlers. Scripture serves as our guide as we learn more about Christ and come to know God through our belief. It is very easy to find a Bible- they are even available at the dollar store now; but it means so much more when we know that the Bible was given to us with prayer and hope, from someone who is on their own journey with God.
I don’t have children of my own yet, however I have loved sitting with my nieces as they look through the Bibles on my shelf. Some have pictures, most do not. However, they have learned that most of my Bibles were gifts, just like I have given them several Bibles. They love to ask me who gave it to me as they thumb through the pages. So much of our faith comes from relationships with those who have helped nurture us in our development and I love every time I get to share that with them as we talk about my own Bibles and the ones that I give them, many times straight off of my personal bookshelf.
Who gave you your first Bible? Which Bible is your favorite and why? As church leaders, these are great questions to think about at times as we remember where we started and where we are starting our own children, both in our families and in our churches.