Do you judge a book by its cover? I've been guilty before. Time and time again, even though I know its foolish, I have purchased a book or magazine because of the picture or the title of the book. It is nothing more than clever and strategic marketing.
Imagine what would happen if people judged the Bible simply by the cover. If you take a look at my study Bible it is worn, the spine is broken, the pages are torn and the concordance in the back is ripped free from the cover page. My ribbon barely stays in its place. To be honest, its probably my favorite Bible. It never leaves my desk. I have many other like it on the shelf, but this one is special to me. It looks pitiful but I wouldn't trade it for $1000. It was given to me in 1996 or 1997 by a lady who worked at the Mars Hill Bookstore in Florence, AL. I have used it in every church I've ever served in ministry.
Truth be told, the Bible is not just any book. Let me explain... In my family Bible we have the family tree listed. Do you remember those large print family Bibles? Our family Bible goes back several generations and names dozens of people I never knew existed before me. The ironic thing is that your Bible is a book about your family tree. Think about it... The stories might not interest the average person, but they are valuable to a Christian. Why? The Bible is your story, it connects you to the people who lived before you and reminds you of those who will live after you. The stories are impactful because they are personal. Every character (named and unnamed) have their rightful place in your story.
Genealogy fascinates me. I love reading about my family. Newspaper clippings. Photo albums. Historical records. I eat it up! That’s what happens when you hear part of your story. Something that seems lifeless to most comes to life for you. Something that seems boring becomes amazing. It might even fire you up! It might melt your heart, loosen your tear ducts and ignite your imagination. Since I was a boy my grandparents instilled a respect for my history.
Every time we read the Bible we are reminded that we are part of something bigger and better! You are not an accident that crawled out of primordial ooze and grew legs. Your purpose and plan for life began long before you were born and will continue on after your soul leaves your body behind. This is why God wants you to know His Word. To learn your story.
Here is the super cool part of your story... your name can be found in another book. The Book of Life! The God of Heaven, who authored your story, wants to take you into His house where He has framed photos of your ancestors lining the walls. If you are found to be faithful you will sit at His table and feast with relatives you've never met! You'll hear stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah and countless millions that are your family. Their names are in that great book.
I've read hundreds (maybe a thousand) books over the years. I treasure none of them like I do my Bible. Don't judge my Bible by its cover. It's not worn because of neglect. Quite the opposite is true. I simply can't put it on a shelf or lay it aside. I will never stop reading it! Every wrinkle represents a moment where I listened to the voice of God. Every smudge and spot are evidence of diligent study. Every note in the margin, and highlighted passage, reveals my love for the search for nuggets of wisdom. I heard a preacher once say that a well-worn Bible is evidence of something great. In fact, if a person's Bible is falling apart it belongs to someone is isn't falling apart.
Get your nose in the Bible. Read it. Study it. Apply it. Share it with others. The life changing truths of God's word are meant to be read and followed. The Word of God is living! Let it come alive to you today.
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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