Friday, January 26, 2018

What to Do with Old Bibles

I know that some of us would say that what we should do with old Bibles is read them, of course.  But that leads me to an interesting point:  do we read Bibles in the old fashioned way?  On paper?

If I'm looking up the readings for the week or the day, I read the Bible online.  It's a remarkable way to read:  I can choose the translation, I can choose the size font, and I could have someone else read it to me.

Do you read the Bible on your phone?  I don't have a smart phone, so it's not possible for me, but I'm guessing that in the first world, many of us read on our phones, just as we do so many other tasks on our phones.

I am most likely to read parts of the Bible when they show up in my prayer book, Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours.  I am most likely to read that text the old fashioned way, on paper.

I am trying to reduce the number of books that I have in front of a major house renovation.  I don't mind keeping books that are important to me, but I still have many books that I will never read again.  It's time to make sure that I really need to keep them.

That brings me to this shelf of Bibles that I have.  Some of them I bought for myself.  One of them is a Bible I had as a child we also have one of my spouse's childhood Bibles.  As I've moved through the world, people have given me their Bibles.  I have a Bible written in Greek and one written in Hebrew--I can't read those at all.  My mother-in-law gave us a Bible as a wedding present.  It has pages in the front for us to record our offspring.  We won't be needing those pages.  I rescued one Bible because it was left in a pile of books in an office I had at the University of Miami.

I have a Ph.D. in English, so my response to books is very different than the general public's.  I revere them in ways that most people don't.  I like them both for their content and as physical objects.  It's hard for me to get rid of them, but knowing that they are going on to be useful to others helps me with that process.

In a world awash with Bibles, it's hard for me to imagine that many people will want my old Bibles.  But I will likely get rid of them nonetheless.

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