/ Kyle E. Sims

Your Own Copy

My early memories of church are scattered but still strong. I can remember the old red brick church on the mill hill, sitting in the wooden pews, my father’s arm around my shoulder and the butterscotch candies he would give me for being quiet. I also remember my first little children’s bible that I took with me to church even though I could not yet read. Over the years, I have always had my own Bible: the basic KJV when I joined the church, the Thompson Chain NIV when I graduated from high school, the Crossway premium bible I have today. All my life I have owned multiple bibles. In fact, I may still have all of these Bibles I mentioned going back over 50 years. But there has always been one Bible that has been “My Bible”.
In the days of smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices it can be easy to let the internet be our Bible. We can even have apps and websites that allow us to take notes, underline, and annotate the text online. This has great advantages as you can work on different platforms and devices. However, there is something about having your own personal, hard copy of God’s Word that makes sense to me. I know I am not the first person to say this. Others have probably said it better. However, let me echo this argument from my perspective.
Every Christian needs their own copy of the Bible. This needs to be a hard copy and not just an electronic Bible on a device. When I worked in a gun range people would come in with laser sights thinking that just having the new fangled device would help them shoot better. It did not! You still had to be able to hold the gun properly. You had to have a good stance and know how to pull the trigger correctly so as to not pull or push the gun. Too many times in the last 25 years I have seen people excited about new technology and the Bible. Technology will never replace the hard work of reading and studying the Bible.
Every Christian needs to have a quality Bible. It may be great that someone gave you a $5 paper- back copy of the Bible and the Lord used it to bring you to faith. It is sentimental and I under- stand that feeling, however, at some point everyone needs a good copy of the Bible. Another lesson I learned from the gun range is that you should always buy the best quality gun you can reasonably afford. When you consider the stress that is put on a gun in operation and that you may use the gun to protect your life, it seems important to get the best one you can afford. Similarly, you want a Bible that is going to last, that you are going to enjoy using, and that has the features you need to help study your bible. My Bible today is a Crossway premium that I got on sale. As a pastor, it should be no surprise that this is a tool I use constantly and needs to last through years of use. A good Bible that has quality paper and construction will last and function well for you.
Every Christian needs to have one Bible to be “your Bible”. I own at least two dozen Bibles. Most pastors are the same. We have one for each translation, several study bibles, large print, and spe- cialty bibles. I even still have two of my grandmother's Bibles. In our day, most Christians proba- bly own multiple Bibles, but one needs to be the Bible you use regularly. Why is this? Simplicity. Many hip business leaders have gone to a basic wardrobe. They have taken the decision of what to wear out of everyday life. If you are going to read your Bible daily then you do not need to de- cide daily which Bible to read from that day. You need to have a copy that is your copy and sits on your desk, table, night stand or wherever you read and study the Bible so that when you are read to read or you have a burning question you go to it. As you get ready for church, you grab it on the way out the door. It is your Bible and you carry it like a soldier does his rifle, ready for battle.
You can still use other Bibles. I have a large print Bible I use for prayer meetings and a Pulpit Bible I preach from that stays at the church. Dr. Ben Shaw encouraged us in seminary to read through a different translation of the Bible every year. However, these do not replace or dimin- ish the status of “my Bible”.
In our day of constant distractions, the Bible on your phone can seem convenient, but the danger is that you will get sucked back into your email and social media while trying to read the Word of God. There is something helpful about going completely analogue: just your Bible, a journal, and a pen. You can spend a few minutes disconnected from the world to connect to Christ by reading His Word and lifting your prayers.
Do you have a copy of God’s Word? Have you become dependent on technology even for your devotions? I encourage you get a hard copy of God’s Word and disconnect from the internet to connect to the Lord.

Kyle E. Sims

Kyle E. Sims

Director of Seminary Admission and Church Relations at Erskine Seminary. Principal Clerk ARP General Synod. Pastor since 1999. 6’ 11” former Basketball player.

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