I remember the white King James Version bible I received for Christmas when I was five years old. It was a gift from my parents… my first bible. As a child, I loved to flip through it pages. I loved the smell that wafted from its pages when I turned them (and still do). I loved the color pictures which alone, told quite a story for a five-year old girl. I loved the zipper on the cover which had a little cross chain zipper pull which has long since broken off. I still cherish this bible fifty years later and still love to view the pictures. Its cover is worn and it’s yellowed with age.
I clearly remember my five-year old self asking my mother why some of the words were in red and others were in black and how she explained that the red words were the words spoken by Jesus, our Lord. My sisters each received the same bible that Christmas and our mother had our names put in gold on the front of each of them. In the front she inscribed our names and the date– December 25, 1964 and signed it “Mother and Daddy.” I remember (and my sisters remember this too) how our mother explained to us that this was a Holy Book and that we needed to treat it with respect. We were never to disrespect our bibles by stacking other books on top of our bibles and were never to set a beverage on our bible covers. My mother took these things very seriously.
Over the years, I have collected many bibles which I keep in a large basket. They each have their own little story. And all are different translations (which is in part due to coincidence). I’ve learned that when I have trouble understanding a bible passage, that sometimes just reading the same passage in a different translation can make all the difference in the world.
I still have the Children’s Story Book Bible that my mother read to me and my sisters when we were children. It is 88 years old. I don’t know the history of this book or where it came from. It has the names of two unfamiliar children written inside its cover and it says that the bible was a gift for their 5th and 6th birthdays from their aunt and uncle. It has the date of 3/8/27. This story book is worn and very fragile. The binding is broken and some of the pages are loose. Most of the pictures are in black and white with a few being in color. I used to read to my own children from this book when they were small and my hope is that one day they will read from it to their own children.
The first bible I bought on my own was when I was a freshman in college. I’ll never forget purchasing this bible from the campus bookstore. It was the New American Standard Bible. I used it for bible study during my college years and found it a little more “readable” than my Kings James version.
My sister and I used to babysit for a woman who was an English teacher and who had quite the collection of books. When she was moving, she gave our family boxes and boxes of books. Among these books was a Good News Bible. If I had to pick my favorite translation, this would be it. I would have to say this is my most used bible.
When my boys were both Baptized on April 3, 1999, I presented them each with a Good News Bible of their own. I had their names put on the front in gold and also gave them a personalized blue satin bookmark with their name also in gold. I had asked the priest at our church which translation he recommended for young children and it was the Good News Bible. Recently, I came across a very nice Good News Bible similar to the ones I bought my sons at Goodwill and couldn’t pass it up.
When I was a teenager, my paternal grandmother gave me a bible that belonged to my grandfather. I still have this bible which would now be 111 years old. She had written in pencil on the inside cover that the bible had been given to my grandfather in 1904 in Hammond, Illinois. It is so fragile with the black cover brittle and crumbling. Many of the pages are loose and it smells like it was in an attic for many years. I keep it protected in plastic to try to preserve it longer. Within its pages was a soiled and yellowed slip of paper with a verse written in my grandmother’s writing– Luke 22:42.
In June of 1996, I acquired a Women’s Devotional Bible (New International Version). My oldest son’s first grade teacher read one of the devotionals at the end of the school year on Awards day when parents were invited to her classroom. It was such a touching devotion. We had a bible outlet store close by in the area so I purchased one of these bibles there. I like the NIV translation and really enjoy the devotions in this bible.
While participating in a Bible Study at my church a few years ago, I was introduced to The Message by Eugene Peterson. Quoting from the inside front page, it reads:
The Message is a contemporary rendering of the Bible from the original languages, crafted to present its tone, rhythm, events, and ideas in everyday language.
The priest read one of the psalms from her NIV bible and then read the same Psalm from The Message. Oh, what a difference. I liked it! I came across a copy of The Message on a bargain table at Books-A-Million and couldn’t pass it up. I enjoy reading it.
I wanted a good study bible to peruse and purchased The New Oxford Annotated Bible at Goodwill. This was the bible my current priest recommended when I asked her to recommend a good study bible. It is a New Revised Standard Version. In all honesty, I have only had this bible for a year or so and haven’t used it a lot.
When my mother passed away and my sisters and I were going through her things, I came across her Red letter Testament Bible. I can still see my mother sitting in her recliner chair reading this bible. A few of its pages are taped with very discolored and brittle scotch tape.
My latest bible purchase was The One Year Bible (The New Living Translation arranged in 365 daily readings. I learned about this bible on Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, which I read daily. Each day contains a portion of the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. It contains plans for reading the bible in one, two, and three years. Each day contains a bold-faced memorization passage.
I dearly love my bible collection. Each bible is special in its own way and each contains a story behind it. I enjoy reading each and every one of them and sometimes if you’re having a hard time understanding something you’re reading in the bible, just switching to a different translation can make all the difference in the world.