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Bible stories

About seven years ago, I told my dad the number of Bibles in his library was obscene. He took it as a point of pride. Cheap, paper-back Bibles, on cheaper still newspaper print in English and Spanish, all in easy to read translations lay strewn across the room. Neither he, nor I have ever been the most organized—this despite his own very organized father. There were easily 70 in his library, not counting a Greek New Testament, not consulted in years, my mom’s family Bible, several Italian Bibles and the 10, or so personal-use Bibles of his own (in English and Spanish—ranging from the KJV to the RSV, NIV, and Good News FMM, and their equalents in Spanish).

We, ourselves, probably have 13, or so—two thinline NIVs, one RSV Oxford, one NRSV, one NIV ThompsonChain, a Gideon or two, two Spanish Bibles, one Easy to read, two parallel translation Bibles, one New Testament in Dinka, and a 1960’s Epistle paraphrase.

The Oxford Bible, I bought to replace the NRSV, has completely fallen apart. It is in such a state of disrepair because I took it with me to Haiti one summer and stuffed in the console hole of the Toyota pickup that my friend and I rode from the Dajabón, on the Dominican border, to Cap-Haitien. It was an interminable ride. We paid the driver enough to ride up front… where we witnessed him plowing straight over a goat, despite the warning calls of the poor goat herder, and where we saw a 50 year-old man on a bike pass us up, only for us to pass him five minutes later, as he was fixing his bike chain, only for him to pass us up again five minutes later… and he was barely breaking a sweat. The roads were just that bad. The Bible had been given to me by grandparents, I had begun to dilligently color code it. But, it never recovered from the five hour drive over dirt, pot-hole ridden roads, stuffed in the console, supporting my left butt-cheek. I’ve always felt guilty about that. And, now, the entire New Testament falls out Matthew through Romans 8 as one chunk; Romans 8 through Galatians as another; Ephesians in two, and so on, until nonthing of the R entries of the concordance through the Patriarch Maps have been found in years.

The Oxford Bible was bought at a rummage sale from a storage unit that was freeing-up space. Likewise, I’ve always felt guilty that I now own a Bible formally owned by a Bernard C. who lost ownership of it because he didn’t pay his rental fee. More than once, people have asked me if Bernard C. and I are close friends, or if he’s an uncle, or something. But, Bernard C. marked up the Bible in his own way. In Hebrews 13, where the text says, Let brotherly love continue, he crossed out brotherly with a heavy pencil marking and then circled the new frase. In Luke 21, where the passage speaks of famines, pestilence, and terrors, he has underlined terrors, and to the side written: nukes. But now the flaps have fallen off and Genesis is page by page falling out.

So, how do you get rid old Bibles?



give them to the American legion to ceremonially bur Oh, wait. that’s something else…

Actually, I still have all of mine. Including a Max Lucado devo Bible that my church gave me when I graduated from high school. It’s quite a chintzy volume. Yet there it still sits on the shelf behind me.

I say you burn the Bibles. Then wait to see if God burns your house down.

Your NT actually divided itself at Romans 8? Are you Jimmy Allen in disguise?

yeah, i wondered if i should follow jewish scribal practice and burn it…

S: what can i say, i never even took a class with him

so scott forced me back to the book… no, not romans 8. romans 3 right at a subsection entitled None Are Righteous

Especially unrighteous are those who let their bibles fall apart and neglect to glue them back together.

It’s an interesting question, one I’ve never thought of before. I have no idea what happened to all my old bibles, but I’m sure I didn’t throw them away. My guess would be they are sitting in an attic in my parents’ home.

In related news: B rebuked me a few nights ago for keeping my bible on the floor.

Especially unrighteous are those who place their bibles upon the floor to be chewed upon by worms.

is this discussion one that only current and former CoC people would have? i have a line-up of Bibles (notice i capitalized Bible!) in a variety of states of repair on my shelf. my former roommate, a lapsed roman catholic (no capitals), sometimes wondered at the number of them. when i periodically go through my book collection looking for candidates for removal (which presently means a demotion from the bookshelf itself to a stack on the floor in front of the bookshelf), it never crosses my mind to throw out a Bible. guess they put something in that CoC communion grape juice.

Same here, Richard. I’ve never been able to bring myself to throw one out, even my NIV Study Bible, which I slowly came to despise.

When I keep a book on my floor it means it’s being read regularly. The stuff I never look at is on my shelf. I tried to explain this to B, but in her world holy books are things to be looked after and venerated, but never read.

i don’t know, i’ve known roman catholics to get quite upset about bibles on the floor… granted, they had one and it was open to psalm 23… but that’s beside the point. it was to be looked at and not read, as JH says.

the collecting of bibles is probably something quite protestant and quite american and probably quite primativist.

Where is a good old-fashioned genizeh when you need one?

JH, after years of living in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, I have a visceral reaction to bibles on floors or next to shoes or within 10 feet of a bathroom.

Keep any bible you actually use, one copy of every version and any bible with a quality binding, quirky history or aesthetic value (after all, if no one’s reading it or only looking at the prints of paintings by dead Spaniards or Italians inside, it might as well look good on the shelf). Burn the paperbacks and good riddance… or you could always give them away: perhaps this is an option

I have three Bibles here, I believe—an NRSV that’s on the floor by my bed, an Oxford RSV that’s on a pile of stuff here in the study, and a King James (sort of falling apart) that belonged to my father. Oh, and I have a Greek New Testament.

Happily, all are useful enough that the question of how to dispose of one hasn’t come up. I am plagued, however, by my copy of the Maximus poems by Charles Olson. They’re full of notes I took when studying them with Donald Revell, and the poems are wonderful in and of themselves. Sadly, however, my old cat once peed on the book, and thus I can’t really read the book unless I have a particularly bad head cold. It’s a problem.

so, maybe i won’t get rid of them… there’s always something about going back through a bible and being startled by the notes you’ve made in them… you mean i used to think it might mean that?