Monday, June 09, 2008

The Ultimate Self-Help Book

I own many different Bibles. Seems like for years, my parents would buy me a new one for by birthday or Christmas. There are more Bible translations and paraphrases than one person could ever need and I have them all: The Message, The King James Version, The New King James Version, The Living Bible, The New International Version, The American Standard and on and on… I do have my favorite. It is leather bound Thompson Chain New International Version. I will never forget the controversy my father stirred when he switched from reading the King James Version to the New International Version from the pulpit. One parishioner, in particular, stood up in the middle of a church service and challenged this new “version” as heresy and never darkened the door of our little church again.

My burgundy, worn Bible has seen me through marriage at a young age, the birth of my children, physical ailments, the death of my husband, milestones, life struggles and my recent remarriage and blending of family. Opening it’s cover you will find markings, tags, underlining, highlighting, bent pages, dates written in margins, and personal notes connected with scripture that resonate specific times in my life. It is, likely, my most prized possession. If lost or destroyed, it is the one material possession I would find to be a significant loss.

When I was growing up my grandmother used to challenge us to memorize portions of scripture, expounding the benefits of “hiding God’s Word in our hearts”. I was a good at it. I could memorize quickly, much to her delight. Psalms 23; Psalms 139; Romans 8; 2 Timothy 2; I have forgotten many things that I memorized in my past, but these scriptures remain in my recollection. I have found solace, as well as frustration at my attempts to reconcile life with the Holy Word.

I have never used scripture to “brow-beat” my children or others on the journey. I find the Word of God to be the foundation for life, not a tool for chastisement. The thought of thumping my children with the Word of God is foreign to me and I don’t believe it to be congruent to Biblical teachings anyway. I hope my children come to the realization that the Word is the solid foundation for their faith. It is the one means by which I believe God speaks to us today.

Within it’s pages are contained the answers so many seek in how to live with honor and principle. With all of the “awaking your life’s purpose”, Oprahish, guru-seeking books on the market today, this is the only one that has stood the test of time and scrutiny. Its words span time and history revealed to be undoubtedly the ultimate self-help book.

“For the Word of God is living and active.” Hebrews 4:12