My first Bible as a child was a pale green, Precious Moments Bible. It had a little lamb on the front and it was the New King James Version. Maybe not the most kid friendly of all the versions, but it was my special Bible and I loved it so much.
I remember before I could even read I would delicately turn through the pages and look at the pictures of the big-eyed children and animals that went along with some of the stories inside. And I was taught that it wasn’t just those drawings that were precious; it was the words and even the physical book itself. You didn’t put the Bible on the ground. You kept it in its special box. You didn’t sit on it during church, and you read it (or looked at the pictures) every day, because it really is precious.
And it didn’t disappoint. As I began to learn to read on my own, I was fascinated by the stories I found in that big green book. I particularly loved thinking about Joseph’s coat, and what it really looked and felt like. Was it like a robe, or was it a winter coat? Did it have a hood? Was it soft or rough? I remember imagining what it would have been like to watch Samson, blind as he was, push down two columns with his own arms and bring a whole building crashing down upon him. I remember thinking about the basket that lowered Paul (Saul) down the city wall, so he could escape without detection. How big was that basket?! And then there was Jesus. He brought that little girl back to life, and he let Thomas touch the spots where the nails had torn his body. And tucked in at the end of my green book was this thing called Revelation. Thrones, and magical looking creatures, and scrolls, and horses, and so much I couldn’t even comprehend, but I couldn’t get enough of it.
One Sunday morning when I was 7 or so, the car broke down or my mom was sick or something, but the end result was that we couldn’t get to church. I loved hearing the Bible stories each week, and it didn’t feel right to just pretend like it was any other day. So I sat down with my big green Bible and I decided that if I couldn’t go hear someone tell me a Bible story, I would tell one of my favorites to God. So I sat there and told Him about Noah.
When I was in the 5th Grade my Sunday school teachers asked if I would teach our class a lesson about faith. So I used the index in the back of my Bible and found every verse that used the word faith, and on wide-ruled notebook paper I wrote my first teaching outline.
The faith that grew in me as a child was absolutely connected to the Bible. I always knew that God was near to me, and I knew that because I read it, and because I felt it when I spent time reading it.
A few weeks ago I walked into my four year old daughter’s room. I had just finished putting her brother to bed, and I was on the lookout for the scattered socks and shirts and pants that still needed to go in the laundry. But there she was sitting on her bed with her Jesus Storybook Bible. She held it up, and said, “Mom will you read me the one about Jesus on the cross?”
And it really is as simple as that. No blog, no article, no video series, no podcast can replace what happens when we sit down and read the Bible…when we read it to ourselves, to our kids, with our spouses, with our friends, as a church. 4, 34, 64, 94, it doesn’t matter our age, when we read the Bible and hear the Bible read we get to know God. We get to know the kinds of things He does, the kinds of things He says. As we know Him more, we get to know more about who we are.
Genesis to Revelation there is one story. The story of a Father’s love and His Promise to redeem. And the great adventure is coming to understand that our stories are part of this too. We are not separate. We are part of God’s story. The Bible matters because it’s our story too.