Monday, May 17, 2010

The Bible as a Comfort Object

I often get emotional in church. Whether the Holy Spirit is moving during prayer, during the sermon or just at the beginning when I'm preparing my heart for the word. I also react strongly when something unscriptural is being taught or when people gossip at prayer meetings etc.
Sunday morning I noticed some black smudges on my hands and realized that the black gloss on the cover of my ESV pew Bible was being worn away by the emotive wringing and rubbing of my sweaty hands. It made me realize how much I buff my Bible with my hands or alternatively put my Bible in a choke hold.

My first Bible as a born again Christian (a bonded leather Zondervan KJV) is still together, but just barely. I put it through two years of intense abuse. I rubbed all the letters off of it and its spine is starting to let go of the pages.

Whenever the Bible is in my hands I find I'm either using it or fondling it. When it's not open I'm rubbing the spine, pressing it this way and that and bending it in all kinds of directions. It made me realize that my Bible is a comfort object. As a child I had a large stuffed bunny which I carried with me everywhere and I found its familiarity comforting. In much the same way, a familiarity with the Bible and its phenomenal and miraculous impact on our lives can create a mental relationship that makes its physical presence comforting.

 In the Bible I know I have all the answers. I have the truth: personal truth (because I've experienced it), but objective truth (because its from the God of all things and all humanity). The Bible is undisputable and authoritative. It's the word of God and answers every question. Its solid. It's not the book of the church; we're the church of the book. Its words renew our minds and make us wise for salvation. It teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. It equips us. 2 Timothy 3:15-17. It provides security and peace because we know that we have access to God's truth. All these truths filter down through association until I feel more at home and more comfortable with the Bible in my hands. The physical form itself gives me comfort.

Sunday I found myself reading and rereading 2 Thessalonians 3:16 in-between bouts of weathering the Good Book with my sweaty hands as I encountered teaching which I found both unscriptural and dangerous.

Like the stuffed bunny of my childhood, my first Bible is in slightly less than ideal condition after two years of comforting (I need a lot of comfort, and it shows).

These are just a few pics detailing the flexibility it has acquired through use and the demolition of the binding (which I promise is worse than is depicted). Using the Bible as a comfort object is a good reason to seek a good binding and some good leather. Any other Bible huggers and fondlers out there?

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