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  • Writer's pictureWes Van Fleet

The Benefits of a Physical Bible

As you read that title, I am sure your mind and heart are thrilled at the potential content that follows (insert hint of sarcasm). Seriously though, I want to make a case for why a physical Bible can benefit you more than reading or listening to the Word on a phone or tablet. I am not going to pit those two against each other because I think it’s great to listen to the Bible and have a digital version in your pocket or purse, but I hope to demonstrate the greater benefits of the physical.

Last week I began looking for a new Bible. I’ve had the same one for about 10 years now and still love it. The more I researched possible choices, I found myself really struggling. Part of it was familiarity and not really wanting to get something new, but the reality was that I was almost completely out of room to take notes, highlight certain things, etc. So, I slowed down to process why I was having such a hard time and came up with these benefits to having my Bible for the last decade:

  • When you touch the same Bible, turn it’s same pages, and hear the noises it makes, it actually forges a deep connection.

  • When you read through the same Bible every year for 10 years, you begin to create a photographic memory of where certain passages and notes are.

  • One of the most encouraging and saddest things was looking at the lists placed in the front of the Bible. The lists my bible provided were: Marriages, Births/Adoptions, and Deaths. These lists have been full for a long time but this is where I smiled and cried in gratitude and need as I looked. Among these lists were people I’ve married who are still thriving at the church, as well as some who no longer are walking with Jesus. There are kids who I’ve watched grow up and some who have left with their parents, but my girls still ask why they left. The deaths section hold the elderly and the infants. Holding these lists of 10 years of life and ministry is one of the greatest benefits of a physical Bible because it reminds us that God is with us.

  • Throughout my Bible were dozens of quotes from Saturday night sermons. Some of these quotes have been words I see year after year going through the Word and am reminded of God’s faithfulness and timely instruction for Kaleo Church.

  • The blank pages in the front and back are filled with random notes, reminders, stickers from my kids, and all tell of a life full of moment by moment grace that cannot be remembered by opening an app.

  • My own notes throughout the Bible are one I hope my kids look back on when they are grown. I have certain notes with dates next to certain passages that will tell a story to my kids. It also reminds me of His past faithfulness that will again and again spur on present trust.

I am sure there are more reasons, but personally, I found myself incredibly thankful to have His Word and see how it has shaped me, my family, and Kaleo Church for the last 10 years. His Word truly is living and active (Heb. 4:12).

This week my new Bible came in the mail. I sat there and looked at it for a bit without touching it. What will the next 10 years hold? What ways will God use His Word to confront and comfort me? What new marriages will be written down permanently? What births and adoptions will fill these pages? What deaths will produce tears and heartache? What names will break fellowship and no longer be a part of our family?

This new Bible is already making it’s way into my heart as the new smell and rustling of the pages becomes the new normal in my morning routines. The ink of my pen and the color of my highlighter have already made the lasting marks in Genesis, Job, Mark, and Romans in a way that also marks these words upon my heart. What a joy to have the physical Word!

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” -Psalm 119:114

-Pastor Wes

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