When God gave the Law to Moses, He had a few commandments specifically for those men who would be anointed as king over His people. Among other things, God told these future kings that, when they had been chosen to be king, they were to sit down and, writing it out by hand, make a copy of the Bible for themselves. Having completed this task, those same kings were then commanded to read and study their copy of God’s word daily, so that they might be blessed. (cf. Deuteronomy 17:18-20)
Though it is no longer necessary for copies of books to be handwritten, it is, today, no less important for God’s people, whom He has made to be priests and kings (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:4-5) to read and study God’s word that we too might be blessed in all that we do, and that we might remain faithful to God.
The Bible is not meant to be an ornament on a shelf, a coffee table book, or a prop carried to and from religious services. God intended for His book to be read, reread, studied, read some more, meditated upon, memorized, and then read some more.
“These words,” says the Lord, “shall be in your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:6) To which the faithful Psalmist replied, “Your word I have hidden in my heart.” (Psalm 119:11)
The best way for that word to get into the heart is via the eyes.
Which is to say, like the kings of old, God wants us to be reading His word every day.
There is a practical side to this.
We must, first of all, have a copy of the Bible in our possession to read it. Having said copy of the Bible, it needs to be readable. And, ideally, it should also be fairly sturdy, able to take the wear and tear that comes from being constantly handled.
It is unfortunate that most people, when it comes to owning a Bible, don’t take these things into consideration as important. Leaving aside, for the moment, the not-unimportant matter of translation, one should take some time to consider the binding, paper thickness and font size of a Bible that is truly meant to be read. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of individuals, when buying a Bible, mainly consider the price of the book, and not whether or not the book, as printed can actually be read, studied, and handled extensively.
But what good is a Bible that has print too small to be seen, and is bound so cheaply as to fall apart after a week or two of solid reading?
Let us advocate for a moment the idea that a person buying a Bible, whether for themselves, or another, should buy a book of good quality. It is a sad commentary that most “gift” Bibles are cheap things that cost five or six dollars, and are printed with such a small font that only the very young have a hope of reading it, and the covers of said Bible are often little more than thick paper. The sentiment in giving such a gift is often commendable, but as a practical tool, meant to be used, read and studied, such Bibles are suboptimal, to say the least.
What craftsman, when buying the tools of his trade is going to get a tool so cheap as to be worthless after a single use? Who, when buying tires for their car, buys the thinnest, saddest tires they can find, ones which will collapse after only a few miles? Do we not instead seek for tools that will last, or tires which will be secure mile after mile? The Bible is a tool, given buy God which, when used properly, will carry you through life, and into heaven. (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 1:16)
How sad is it that most people will spend more money to go to see a single movie at the theater, an experience lasting only a couple of hours, than they will on a Book which can give them knowledge for a lifetime. Too many are more willing to pay for a single meal than they are to buy that which will feed their soul day after day. One suspects it is because, for far too many, their Bibles are mere ornaments, left on a shelf unread.
But if you are serious about wanting to know what the Bible says, and you plan on reading it every day, then, let us counsel you to take the time and the effort to get yourself a good Bible, one which you can read easily, and one which is sturdy enough to be used for years. Your soul is worth it.
If, likewise, you would like to learn more about the Bible, the church of Christ invites you to study and worship with us at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis, Ohio. Likewise, if you have any questions, please share them with us through our website: chapelhillchurchofchrist.org.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.