In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
~ John 1:1
When I was a little girl, my first Bible was a King James Lawson Falle Baby’s First Bible. It’s hardcover, and came in a protective sleeve box. Both the box and the Bible’s covers boast the most adorable illustrations. On the cover: Three little lambs, two white, one black, and on the back: A lamb staring at the cross.
This special edition has a few full-colour, full-page illustrations, a dictionary concordance (which I can remember loving even when I was very young), and my personal favourite, the words of Christ in red. I think every Bible should have Jesus’s words set apart in red.
I still have this Bible, and as the box itself states, it’s a lifetime keepsake.
Your first Bible really is a special thing. Today, the New International Version is my translation of choice. Though I will specify right now that I DON’T like the newest edition of NIV. It’s a copyrighted translation, so the “owners” can implement changes to the text whenever they want. And they’ve made some terrible ones this time. Ones that aren’t just pointless “thee” and “thou” type edits. I mean major changes like adding in complete sentences that didn’t exist in the text before, and rewording phrases in a manner that alters the meaning. After I discovered a number of these “updates”, I wrote the people in charge and complained a blue streak about it. I even got into it on Twitter with them.
So as much as I hate to, I would urge you to read the newest version of the NIV Bible very cautiously. It’s still a good translation, but be aware that I have found a few major issues with it. And that’s what you’ll find online now, whether you use Bible Gateway (my personal preference), or any other site. The company has pulled ALL previous versions of the text off the market (both in brick and mortar bookstores and online) and replaced them with this new “easier to understand” edition. I’ll use the online version to find references quickly, but then look them up in my old paper NIV (or use my electronic NIV Bible) to read it and/or quote it.
But regardless of my adult translation preference, I still cherish my little original King James. I’ll take it off the shelf once in a while, slide it carefully out of its protective sleeve, and slowly flip through it. Much to no one who knows me’s surprise, though it’s clearly well-loved, there’s not a single dog-eared page in the entire book. My appreciation for books started right from the womb, I think.
I can remember taking this Bible to bed with me night after night. Reading it. Admiring the illustrations. Highlighting verses that I thought were important.
Back in August, I shared with you some of the highlighted verses from my grandma’s Bible, and later, a poem she had tucked inside of it. And as 2015 quickly comes to a close, for my final Sunday Scripture post of the year, I just want to sit and flip through little Wendy’s old Bible and ponder a few things. The end of the year is a good time to reflect, remember, and re-establish yourself. And who says you have to limit yourself to the current year? Why not go back to the very beginning?
I found it so interesting to see the things I thought were important back when I was first using this Bible. The dictionary section is clearly the most well-used. There are circled words such as “Trinity” and “truth”, and the binding is completely broken at this page, suggesting I visited it often.
The dictionary is such a fantastic addition to a child’s Bible, I think. And this one also includes a few sketched illustrations. I can distinctly remember being particularly fond of the adder sketch, despite my dislike of snakes!
Flipping through this, I can’t deny the happiness I feel when I see highlighted verses that I know are also highlighted in my current everyday Bible too.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
~ Philippians 4:13
Give thanks unto the LORD; call upon His name: make known His deeds among the people.
~ Psalm 105:1
My everyday NIV Bible sits on its own shelf downstairs in my studio, so every once in a while when it’s late at night, I’ll retrieve my little King James from a bookcase in the spare room and take it to bed with me like I used to do so long ago. I’ll just pick a spot and start reading for a while, and when I’m done, I’ll remember back to the time when I didn’t understand very much of what this Book had to say, and I thank the Lord for the wisdom He’s been gracious enough to share with me over the last 29 years.
There is no substitute for the Bible. It’s the Word of God. Our manual. Everything we need to know is in that Book. And I don’t care that so many people don’t believe that. I really don’t. *I* believe it. And I’m tired of Christians making excuses for what we believe. As it is written, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.
It says that the Lord loves a broken spirit and a contrite heart. We’re not called to be people full of piety who think they have it all figured out, going around with our noses in the air, pointing our finger at other people’s sin. Point at Jesus, not at sin. Each of us will answer for ourselves, and our ourselves alone. None of us can answer for each other’s sins, so keep the focus on YOU doing the right thing. Everyone will stand before God and answer for him/herself. Make sure that you didn’t neglect your own mind and heart while you were too busy concerning yourself with other people’s flesh.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
~ Psalm 23
If you are sincere, then the Lord will open your mind to understand. It says we are to come to Him like little children, and for some reason, a lot of people don’t seem to understand what children are actually like. They’re curious, inquisitive and FULL of questions. They WANT to understand, they WANT to know what’s being said and what it means. And that’s how we should be too.
Whether you prefer the King James, NIV, or any other translation, remember that there are two sides to wisdom, and there are NO contradictions found in God’s Word. And to the “Christians” who claim there ARE contradictions in the Bible, and who think it’s appropriate to make up excuses for why that’s okay? Shame on you. SHAME ON YOU. Shame on you that you’d allow your ignorance and lack of understanding to plant seeds of doubt in other people’s minds. Is our God so powerless and weak that He can’t even keep a handle on what His own Book says over two lousy millennia? I don’t think so. So please, stop blaming the Book for what you don’t understand, and try reading it again from the correct side of wisdom. The natural came first that the spiritual might be revealed (1 Corinthians 15:45). If you find what appears to be a contradiction in this Book, then you know you aren’t interpreting what it says correctly. Read it again and again and again until you DO understand. If your heart is sincere, then God WILL share His wisdom with you.
If one translation isn’t making sense? Grab another one. Men WILL make mistakes and the wicked WILL try and sabotage us at every turn, but God has given us too many witnesses for us to have an excuse. Go all the way back to the Greek and the Hebrew if you have to. Invest in a Strong’s Concordance and search the scriptures for the truth. It’s there. Men have no power over the Word of God. Remember, no contradictions. Go back to the original source. God has preserved it for us so that we not be deceived by the mistakes (both deliberate and unintentional) that men have made.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me.
~ Revelation 3:20
God is so patient with us. And like the Good Shepherd that He is, when we dumb sheep wander off aimlessly, chasing after this, being distracted by that, getting lost and confused… here He comes to bring us back home again. We keep wandering off, He keeps coming to get us. What more can I say other than thank you, Lord. Please have mercy and compassion on me, a sinner.
I look at my old Bible sometimes because it’s good to remember where you once were, so that you can better appreciate where you are now. And it’s wise to take stock of where you are now, so that you can prepare for where you want to be in the future. There is always more to learn. Fix your eyes on your future, and then work as hard as you can to get there. Everything in life demands sacrifice. And Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have this Book, understand what it says, and be saved.
And I for one, never want to take that gift for granted.
Note: All of today’s illustrations are from my Baby Bible. The artist’s signature on the full-colour illustrations is “Rosalind”, but unfortunately, the Bible credits only the artist of the smaller interior sketches (Charles McBarron). And my own online research turned up nothing. Why the more prolific artist didn’t deserve a mention, I have no idea. So the artist of these pretty little Bible lambs remains a mystery to me…