Do you have a collection of old family Bibles? Leaf through them and see what falls out. Sadly, I did not pay attention to the roads my musty Bibles traveled before they checked themselves into odd spaces on my bookshelves.
I will never know which relative slipped a 4-page leaflet titled “Two died for me” into a 1913 New York American Bible Society translation. I surmise from a Google search that the tract that presents the story of Jim, who went to a watery grave to save the life of a shipmate, was published in the 1930s and is part of the Adventist archives.
This put me in mind of other flotsam that has floated from the pages of my old Bibles – a favorite poem, a rose-bordered memorial card, yellowed clippings of obituaries, the cryptic scribble of a graveyard row and lot number where an ancestor might be found if the scribbler had thought to include the name of the cemetery. There are more stories in an old family Bible than the parables these pages produce.
My favorite story is not my own, but my friend Barbara’s. After her mother died Barbara found a note in her mother’s handwriting tucked between the pages of her Bible. The note was not addressed to anyone particular, it simply said “Do not worry. I am just fine.”
We often think about family history. We record the dates of births, marriages and deaths in family Bibles, or we used to before the advent of Ancestry.com. These records don’t say much about our spiritual history though. The clues we find or leave, the passages we underline, the notes we take tell a bit more.There is an advertisement that suggests that our success in life can be determined by an answer to the question, “what’s in your wallet?” Perhaps our hearts are revealed by the answer to a different question. What’s in your Bible?