Bibles given in childhood cultivate a love of God's Word from an early age. They help foster a softness of heart that causes a child to cherish their Bibles into adulthood. When a child has their very own Bible, it helps them own their faith, rather than thinking of it as an extension of their parents'.
That is, until I lost it.
I got home and realized I didn't have my Bible. My parents, seeing my distress, were kind enough to retrace the route we'd taken to church in our small town. We saw something on the side of the road and my dad pulled over and parked a short distance away. I ran to the place we'd seen it and there it was, lying in a puddle. I picked it up as tenderly as one would a wounded animal. I tried to smooth its wet pages. Then came the tears. It was the first time I'd cried over a book. But this wasn't just a book. It was God's Word, and I'd wrecked it.
I don't remember if I continued to use that Bible the next few years or if I used another that my parents had on the bookshelf. But I remember the next Bible I was given.
My grandparents had a tradition of giving their grandchildren a new Bible when they graduated from high school and I was no exception. Mine had a brown leather cover with my name engraved in gold on the lower right corner. I'd seen my older brother and sister get theirs and I eagerly anticipated receiving mine. That Bible was well used, as I'm sure Grandpa and Grandma hoped it would be. It saw me through marriage, the birth of my first two children, divorce, and several years of single parenting. It encouraged me and guided my days as I learned to live as a Christian adult.
One Sunday, I went to a different church with a friend. It was a huge church, much larger than I usually attended. I got up to leave at the end of the service and forgot my Bible on the pew. I remembered it before I even reached the parking lot, and turned back to get it, but it was gone. I sought help in finding it and was directed to the office lost and found. It hadn't been turned in. I was heartsick. I went back a week later and it still hadn't been returned. To this day I don't know what happened to it.
For the first time ever, I had to buy a Bible. I looked in the bookstore and found the version I wanted with just the right size print. I still think about all those old Bibles and how they got me started on the path of my spiritual journey and an intimate relationship with Jesus. When you give someone a Bible, you never know how it will impact their life. But with prayer, it just might make the difference between eternal life and death.
What is the most special Bible you've had? Tell us about it in the comments.