Monday, June 3, 2013

I'm Into Leather

Yes, I'm into leather. Bibles, that is. Don't worry, you'll never see me wearing leather pants.  There's something about the way a well-made leather Bible feels to the touch, the way it smells, the craftsmanship and beauty.  As a child I was enamored with two Bibles my father had but my favorite was a Cambridge New Testament with Psalms. Deluxe Morocco Leather, so smooth,  and I loved the stitching on the binding,  way the paper felt,  and how the print looked in the King James Version.   As much as I admired these Bibles I knew my dad used them all and I never felt like I should  ask him if I could have one of them. 

On December 9, 1969, a Tuesday night as I recall, my dad sat down with me on our living room sofa after supper and started asking me questions about sin, Jesus, and salvation.  I was nine years old and having grown up in a Bible preaching, evangelistic church I was beginning to more clearly see my need  of the gospel.  There was conviction of sin in my heart, but my young mind couldn't separate the act of faith from the action of "walking down the aisle",  and I remained paralyzed in the pew due to my fear of getting up and going down in front of all those people.  My dad took me to the third  chapter of the Gospel of John and explained to me what being born again was all about.  I repented and believed the gospel, and that Sunday walked down that aisle with a minimum of fear.  The next Sunday night I was baptized.   Not long after that on a Saturday my dad gave me his New Testament with an inscription to me inside and told me it was now mine.

I treasured that book and took good care of it, but as I became a teenager and moved on through high school my heart and mind moved away in rebellion from the words of the book.  God brought me to a place of repentance at 19 years old and the Bible came alive to me in brand new way.  You can read more about that here: God and a Gremlin . The New Testament that had been more of a trophy became my food and a tool for God to use to change me.  I began marking passages that spoke most clearly  to me or that I was memorizing.  Now the book was special to me for more than material reasons. 
I still have that New Testament, as evidenced by these pictures, and it's in great shape, a testimony to the quality of the materials and construction of it.  I grew up on the King James Version, and although I primarily read other translations now,  I still enjoy reading it from time to time.  Over the years I've come to understand that the contents of the book are much more important than the cover, but I have to say that a good leather cover is like icing on the cake.  My dad passed away when I was 31 and I now have his other Bibles. I have also have several leather Bibles of my own,  various versions, which I'm sure I'll soon blog about.  And maybe one day I'll get a Cambridge Bible, but this New Testament will always have a special place on my bookshelf and in my heart.