Sunday, May 21, 2006


At our leadership retreat on Saturday, I brought four Bibles with me, in case someone (or four someones) forgot theirs. As I was looking at the Bibles I brought, I realized they were my four favorites. These four are all New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), because I love NRSV. It was pretty amazing they were all gathered together in one place. They usually live more separate lives.

There is my blue leather bound slimline NRSV. It does the most traveling, which is what it is designed for. It was given to me in 1997 by first mentor, but not in the usual way. She had it lying spare in her office when I was lamenting the fact that I could not find a slimline NRSV to save my life. (NRSV is the best version in my opinion, but it does not have the best marketing minds attached it. The NIV does. So the NRSV gets short shrift in varieties available.) The reason she had it lying around was that a pastor had forgotten it at some retreat, and before she could return it to him, he died. It has random things underlined in it by a man whose name I do not even know, because my mentor served her first 30 years of ministry in New York. Since it was given to me by a mentor, and has this added layer of mystique and holy residue that I imagine must be there from a pastor who served God many years and went home, combined with the fact they are no longer printed, it has a special place in my heart.

Next is my first ever study Bible. It has a black zip cover, and Bible tabs which I added because I learned the order of the books when I used this Bible. This Bible came into my life before the slimline NRSV, when I was first taking Disciple Bible Study in 1995. I don't open this Bible so much anymore, because the study notes are now somewhat outdated. But I remember buying it at Borders, and reading it every week for Bible study. I remember how much the cover and Bible tabs somehow made me feel like more of a Christian, when I was still uncomfortable with what that meant and whether I wanted to call myself one. It will always have a special place in my heart. This was the Bible that was with me when I came to my adult faith. It is also the Bible with which I began Seminary. Whenever my roommate or I were caught somewhere without a Bible, we would joke "Bibles are heavy." This Bible was my reason for making such jokes.

Third is my current study Bible. It is the New Interpreter's Study Bible. All of the notes have been updated and the scholars who worked on it are the world's best. It's the reason I don't use my original study Bible. (If you want to check it out, go to:'s%20Study%20Bible&pid=278325) It has only been in my life for about four years, so we are still getting to know each other. But it has been through many Bible studies and sermon preparations, and it has lost its paper cover. If I lost this Bible, I would immediately replace it, but it has not yet reached the sentimental level that my original study Bible has. If I lost this study Bible, another copy would suffice. If I lost my original study Bible, another copy could never take its place.

Finally, there is my Spiritual Formation Bible. (I recommend this one too: ) This is the one I use for prayer when I am praying in my office. It has been with me since about 1999 I think, but also has not achieved the sentimental status. It is getting there though. I give it another few years.

I wonder how many other people have Bible stories like mine

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