Please write in your Bible

“This shall be written for the generation to come; and the people who shall be created shall praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).

Please go to the front of your Bible and write in it.

Start by putting your own name.

Often, when I pick up the Bibles of friends to see what they have written in them, I’m chagrined to see they don’t even have their names.

Write in your Bible, friend. Please.

At Christmas 1973, my aunt Eren gave a new Bible to her mother, my wonderful grandmother Bessie Lowery McKeever.  Grandma died in 1982, but not before marking up that Bible.

I now own it.  It is a treasure beyond price.

One morning, I read something I had never seen before, that made the tears flow.  (I was looking up the text above, and Grandma’s Bible was handy.)

In the margin beside Psalm 103:17, Grandma had written “One of Papa’s favorite verses.”

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.

I never knew Grandpa Lowery, her father.  Many years ago, she told me he was a preacher of the Word, and a Baptist at that. As a little girl, Grandma would accompany him as he went out to preach. Other than that, I know nothing of him.  Thanks to Grandma’s notes in the front of this Bible, I have his name:  George Marion Lowery. And his wife, my great-grandmother, was Sarah Jane Blocker, whose birthdate is listed as January 1, 1852.  (Grandma Bessie was born in 1895, was married in 1910, and became a mother the first time in 1912 when my dad Carl arrived, and for the twelfth time with the birth of Georgelle in 1936, six months after being widowed.)

In his lifetime, my dad presented me with two Bibles. The first came in 1948 when he asked me to “come go with me,” and we walked off the West Virginia mountain, and up  the railroad tracks to the town of Sophia. Inside a variety store he asked the clerk to “Show us your Bibles.” He told me, “Pick you out a Bible.”  I was stunned.  This was the last thing I expected.  I chose a black zippered beauty which I read every night for years.  Then, many years later Dad gave me Grandma’s Bible. I’m still finding notes she left in the margins.

This is about people writing in their Bibles.

I started to preach the funeral of optometrist Dr. J. E. Gooch, a deacon in our church and a former member of General George Patton’s Third Army (which liberated some of Hitler’s concentration camps).  A few minutes before the service began, Dr. Gooch’s son approached me. “Pastor, I thought you’d like to see this.” He handed me his dad’s Bible.

In the front, on one of those white pages found in most Bibles, this faithful servant of the Lord had written:  “I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on Friday, September 3, 1948, in Shady Oaks Baptist Church, Route 3, Brookhaven, Mississippi.  I was baptized the next Sunday afternoon in Shady Pond, and I have been serving the Lord all the years since.”

I read that in the service. It was more comforting than anything I had to say.

Ever since, I’ve been urging people to “Write your testimony in your Bible.”  It will outlive you.  It will be there to bless your descendants who will one day treasure your Bible.

After my father-in-law died and we were going through his house, making decisions on what to keep, what to pass on to family, and what to toss, I found a Bible I had given him in 1964.   It was worn and had been repaired with duct tape.  Inside was a page of notes in Pop’s handwriting.  But not what I might have wished or expected.

He had listed every gun he owned with its serial numbers and history.

I suppose they were his treasures and what better place to store them than in the Holy Book.

Grandma also kept clippings in her Bible, some of which I am just now discovering.  Like the 1980 article in the Jasper, Alabama “Daily Mountain Eagle” where the columnist had interviewed her about her early life. There’s a lovely photo of Grandma surrounded by her five sons and seven daughters. They’re all there, and decked out in their finest. It’s a wonderful keepsake.

I write in my Bibles.  Each of my eight grandchildren has received a Bible from me.  More than once, I have read the Bible through in a year and marked it up as I went, then presented it to a grandchild. Once, I bought identical Bibles and marked up two in one year, then presented them to twins Abby and Erin.

So, please. Write in your Bible.

Start with a) your name in the front of your Bible, and then b) your testimony on one of the white pages.  Then, read it with a highlighter or a fine-point pen handy. Make notes in the margin.

Make this a keepsake.

You may end up blessing descendants whom you will not see until they arrive in Heaven.  And wouldn’t it be great to know your testimony helped them make it there.

2 thoughts on “Please write in your Bible

  1. My grandmother received a new Bible from my grandfather for Christmas 1976, six weeks after I was born. When I was heading off to college at Wellesley (she was always so proud to tell her Sunday school class that– “it’s a prestigious women’s college in the Northeast,” which is now how all of my family refer to it) she passed it on to me, heavily annotated with marginalia and highlights and my birthday written on the flyleaf. It’s very dear to me, and I use it when I’m reading the psalms (because while I generally use the NIV or NRSV, nothing but the KJV will do for Psalms).

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