I recently started working for Well-Watered Women as the Customer Care Specialist. Part of my job is to help manage our Instagram accounts, allowing me to see and interact with our community. After a few weeks, the internet’s inexplicable algorithms did their work, and I also started seeing companies and ministries similar to WWW pop up everywhere on my personal Instagram and Facebook feeds.
Suddenly, there were all these lovely posts with lovely pictures with lovely notebooks—lovely everything. And then I saw the lovely Bibles. Bibles of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and covers that were so pretty and appealing sitting there with cool page tabs, coloring areas, and notes columns.
With those in mind, I went to a Christian bookstore and naturally wandered over to the Bible section to take a peek. Sure enough, there were more lovely Bibles like the ones on Instagram. There were cloth-covered ones that looked like they belonged on a shelf in Jane Austen’s house. Some covers’ designs were floral, others were marbled or leather-bound. Some were advertised as coloring Bibles, journaling Bibles, reader’s Bibles, thinline Bibles, or.…
It was overwhelming. So. Many. Bibles.
I wanted them all. My eyes craved a new pretty Bible. Never mind the one I had at home. These were beautiful. My little magpie heart wanted to scoop them up.
But then I opened one of those pretty Bibles and found that it had the same words that were in my Bible at home. I thumbed through, feeling the pages and reading a passage or two, then moved to the next one. And again, this had the same words as the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that. The Holy Spirit pricked me hard.
That’s right. They don’t say anything different. And if you don’t make time for the one you have at home, you won’t make time for one of these. No matter how pretty it is.
I sighed and put the Bible down. I walked out the door convicted, and a little wiser.
I was drawn to a pretty Bible because I was hungry for something new and exciting in my quiet time. Lately it had seemed a little dry. But it wasn’t because my copy of the Bible wasn’t as good as any other. It was because my heart had grown indifferent to the Word. My time with Jesus had become an obligation instead of a privilege, and felt more like chewing on stale crust than feasting on the Bread of Life. In my mind, a pretty new Bible would make it exciting again and then it wouldn’t be so … blah.
God tells us in His Word that “pretty” wears off. Lovely gets smudged and scratched. Beautiful turns gray and shows fingerprints. But He also contrasts that with the enduring presence of His Word. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Is. 40:8). Did you hear that? “The word of our God will stand forever.” The eternality of the Word is not because of the design on the cover—it’s because its content is living and active, dividing soul and spirit, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). If our hearts are indifferent to the content and message of the Word, then no amount of embellishment will keep our attention.
Please don’t misunderstand. Beautiful Bibles are not evil. They display the God-given talents of artists and designers, and journaling Bibles can encourage our own worshipful creations! They can be beautiful tools to encourage us to read the Word. But our physical Bibles’ attractiveness should not be the motivation for our time in them. We should not read our Bibles because they are pretty.
We should read our Bibles because they point us to Jesus!
Jesus is enduringly engaging. His love is steadfast and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22–23). The Gospel never fades, or gets boring or old hat. Jesus is the substance. The mortar. The weight.
Friend, don’t get let the enemy use the Bible—our very weapon against evil—to distract you from reading the Word. Don’t put off spending time in Scripture until you find the perfect Bible. Pick up the one you have, open it, and study it. There is a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge contained within that will delight your soul day and night (Ps. 119:97)! And if your quiet time is a little dry like mine was, ask the Lord to renew a steadfast spirit within you—one that treasures the Word and holds it in high regard. The Father promises that He will satisfy us with good things, and His Word is the best thing (Ps. 51:10; Ps. 103:5).
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)