old bible

The phrase biblica sacra, or holy books, first appeared in the Middle Ages. In English, one of the earliest uses of “The Holy Bible” surfaced in 1611 on the Authorized Version, known in the United States as the King James Version. The word holy has several meanings, and all of them describe the Word of God. The word “Bible” derives from the Greek and Latin words meaning “book,” a proper name since the Bible is the book for all people, for all time. It’s in a class by itself, a book like no other. Sixty-six different books make up the Bible, including books of law, like Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and books of poetry, like Ecclesiastes and Psalms.

Almost 40 different authors contributed to the Bible, which was written over about 1,500 years. The authors were fishermen, priests, government officials, kings, shepherds, farmers, and doctors. From all this diversity comes a fantastic unity, with common themes woven throughout. The Bible’s unity comes from the fact that, ultimately, it has one Author: God Himself. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible is God-breathed, and the human authors wrote precisely what God wanted them to write. The result was the holy and perfect Word of God.

The Bible is separated into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Essentially, the Old Testament tells the story of a nation, and the New Testament is Jesus’ story. The nation was God’s way of bringing Jesus into the world. The Old Testament details the preservation and founding of the nation of Israel. In Genesis 12:2-3, God promised to use Israel to bless the world. Once Israel was created as a nation, God raised a family within that nation through whom the blessing would come: David’s family. From that family, one Man was promised to bring the promised blessing.

The New Testament shares the arrival of that Promised Man. The New Testament shares the arrival of that promised Man. His name was Jesus, and He fulfilled the Old Testament’s prophecies as He lived a perfect life, died to become a Savior, and was resurrected from the dead. Jesus is the Bible’s main character, as the whole book is truly about Him. The Old Testament forecasts His coming and sets the stage for His entrance into the world. The New Testament shares His coming and work to bring salvation to our sinful world. Jesus is more than a historical figure and more than a man. He’s God in the flesh, and His coming was the most significant event in the world’s history.

God Himself became a man to give us an understandable, clear image of who He is. What’s God like? John 1:14 tells us that He’s like Jesus, as Jesus is God in human form. God made man and put him in a perfect environment. Sadly, man rebelled against God and fell from what God hoped him to be. God put the world under a curse due to sin but immediately set in motion a plan to restore all humanity and creation to its original glory.

How should you dispose of an old Bible?

There’s no biblical way to dispose of an old, damaged, or ruined Bible, as the Bible doesn’t address this question. Therefore, it’s a matter of personal conviction. It’s essential to recognize that it’s not the paper, ink, or binding that’s holy or sacred. It’s the Word of God that’s holy, not the material it’s printed on. We shouldn’t idolize or worship the Bible. The Bible’s purpose is to teach us about Jesus, the Savior and the redemption He gives and to point us to worship Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The ink and paper of a Bible are merely the means through which God speaks His word to us.

However, it would seem that throwing away a Bible would be the absolute last resort. Many old Bibles, if they’re rebound, would be as good as new and could then continue to be used or donated to someone else to use. Even an old, dilapidated Bible given to someone who doesn’t have one can be an incredible blessing. Some people keep old Bibles as family treasures to remind future generations of how their ancestors were committed to God’s Word. There are many options, and all are worth prayerfully considering. Ultimately, if a Bible is truly tattered to the point of being unusable, it can be discarded. In no way will discarding a Bible bring God’s displeasure. Some people prefer burning a Bible instead of putting it in the trash.

Perhaps a more fitting option for disposing of an old Bible is burial. Jewish communities typically discard their sacred books by burying them. There are even donated cemetery plots solely for the purpose of burying prayer books and Torah scrolls. Many Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics also believe burial is the proper disposal method. Evangelicals who have issues with tossing their Bibles in a dump should consider burying them as a form of respect for the text.

Still, neither method is right or wrong. There’s a story of a person who threw a Bible out in the trash. A garbage collector saw the Bible, took it out of the trash, started reading it, and put his faith in Jesus as Savior. God can use His Word to testify of Him, even from the pages of a discarded Bible. However we choose to discard the Bible, we should remember that an essential way we show respect for the text comes not from how we handle the printed pages but by storing God’s Word in our hearts and obeying all that it says.

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