A good part of the first twenty years of my life was spent attending church. My family was there at least three times a week and sometimes more. I appreciate the church I grew up in mainly because of the emphasis on teaching the Bible. From Sunday school as a toddler up through my high school years in youth group, I was taught the scriptures, and the great stories and heroes of the Bible. I still have the first Bible I ever owned, a pocket King James Version New Testament (with pictures). It was given to me by my dad as a Christmas gift in 1970. I was five years old at the time and not even able to read yet. I did however, find the pictures fascinating and looked at them often.
As a matter of fact, this little Bible is sitting on the table next to me as I write this. The text is almost too small for me to read, even with glasses, but I can still see the pictures ok. I find it ironic that when I first got it, I couldn’t read it because I was too young, and now I can’t read it because I’m too old. This little Bible has become quite a treasure to me, and I am glad I managed to hang on to it over the years. It came to mind when I gave my son his first Bible at Christmas when he was five. That was a couple of years ago now.
Now I haven’t talked it over with dad to find out for sure, but I have a strong suspicion that this was no ordinary Christmas gift. I don’t think my dad was out Christmas shopping and thought, “Hey, this little Bible would be a great gift, Greg will really enjoy this.” I believe that what he was really thinking was “Son, I want you to know Jesus Christ, and this will get you started on the right track. This is your road map for life and I hope you will come to know what this book says and means in an intimate way.”
I’m pretty sure that is what he was thinking, because that’s exactly what I was thinking when I bought my son his first Bible. Over the years I would memorize scripture (which could possibly lead to getting candy from my Sunday school teacher as a reward) and read the stories that we were being taught. As I got older, I would underline favorite passages, go to Bible studies, and even did some on-my-own devotional reading. But even reading, studying, and being taught so much scripture, I never managed to read through the entire Bible from cover to cover, Genesis through Revelation.
Now let’s fast forward a bit to Christmas, 1987, when I received another Bible from dad as a Christmas gift. This one didn’t have any pictures, but what it did have was the Bible divided up into 365 daily readings. For each day of the year it had a reading from the Old Testament starting in Genesis, a New Testament reading starting in Matthew, and also a daily reading from Psalms and Proverbs. If you read each day’s reading, by the end of the year you will have read through the entire Bible in about ten to fifteen minutes a day.
I was in the US Army at this point in my life and I wasn’t doing a lot of Bible reading and my church attendance was sporadic. The One Year Bible I received that Christmas in 1987 sat on my shelf virtually untouched until 2004. I had rededicated my life to Christ in 2000, and I began a quest to know what I really believed. I began reading a lot of books about the truths of Christianity. I wanted to be an educated Christian who knew the what, when, hows, and whys of my faith. I was even back to using my Bible (I had acquired several by this time) on a regular basis. But I still had never read it all the way through.
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