I distinctly remember getting three different Bibles over the years that have affected my spiritual life as major milestones.
My First Bible: Red Bible + Gold Family
My first Bible was bright red with illustrations on various pages, given to me by my parents. While growing up in our townhouse in Baltimore, I got the gumption up to start reading it as a seven-year-old. I was shocked at how exciting and unusual the first stories in Genesis were—especially angels guarding the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword!
My parents had taken me to church, so I knew that it was somehow important to tell other people about the Bible. So, one day I put on my little Sunday suit, strode into the living room, and announced to the family that I was going to preach to them.
I can’t remember the content of that message, but I can say that my parents had hearts of gold. They set up a makeshift podium and showed me that opening God’s Word was good. I’m sure their encouragement helped propel me toward receiving and giving many more sermons and lessons to come.
Little Book + Lots of Students
By the time I entered high school, I had been a Christian for about five years. However, I didn’t understand the importance of daily devotional time with God. I would have agreed that the Bible was God’s Word, but I had not received clear encouragement (from teachers, coaches, or even other students) to read it daily so that God could speak to me.
My parents gifted me a small paperback book called The Bible Promise Book. Inside were various topics with verses sharing what God had so say about anger, courage, and worry. I started by reading one section before I went to bed. As I did, I began to notice something interesting. When I would display some sort of sinful flare-up during the day—like being angry at a friend—that evening’s section would be on anger! I decided from then on that I would try to stay ahead of things by having my devotions in the morning. God has graciously preserved that habit since then.
One Year + One Coworker
During my college years, I spent one summer cleaning campus apartments in my hometown as a job. One of my coworkers was a middle-aged man from my church. He was so glad to be able to talk about spiritual life with another Christian, and he shared with me that he was using a New Living Translation The One Year Bible in his time with the Lord.
At that recommendation, I asked for the Bible that winter, and it was one of my favorite Christmas presents I’ve ever received. I loved how it broke some of my familiarity with texts I’d read before and also made the Old Testament more readable. I also appreciated the ease of getting to jump into the Bible in one sitting—knowing that progressing daily would help me explore the entire landscape of the Bible. To this day, I often use The One Year Bible in my devotional time to help me uncover the riches of the Bible’s full story.
More Than One Bible
When I was younger, I remember seeing the shelves of older Christians that held multiple Bibles. I thought, “What a waste! You only need one Bible!” But I have come to realize that God may use different copies, layouts, or translations of his Word in different seasons of life to accomplish different purposes. I have grown to see that it’s not how many Bibles you have that indicates one’s spiritual maturity. Rather, it is if you have been listening to God in whatever version or copy of his Word that you own.