The Tale of Two Bibles

Note: This post has been slightly amended to reflect a legitimate point a reader made about the first image that once adorned this article (now removed to the bottom of the post).

Which of these two Bibles do you think belongs to the person with the healthiest soul?

Dusty Bible 3

Marked Bible

Day 7   Reading with the Pastor
Matthew 7  and  Psalm 10-11

The sermon on the mount begins with Jesus seeing the crowds, going to the mountain, his closest disciples crowding close with the masses listening in from the sides. It ends with the amazed multitudes who recognized that “He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).

In between chapter 5:2 and chapter 7:29 are some of the most challenging, beautiful, thought-provoking words ever preached. The beatitudes, teaching on personal relationships, prayer, fasting, a cure for anxiety, teaching on not judging others—Jesus covers the whole terrain. Scholars have plumbed its depth, preachers have exhorted their congregations to live its truths, believers have drawn wisdom and solace for their daily lives from this greatest sermon every preached.

Over the last three days, you have read the sermon in three parts. Try reading it again, straight through. Look for all of Jesus’ commands. Make a list of them. Perhaps next Sunday afternoon, try reading it again and make a list of all the promises that Jesus makes to his disciples. Both exercises will deepen your heart and your passion to apply all that Jesus taught, which, after all, is what Jesus desires for all of us.

Another offering from the Poetry Project” to encourage your reading of the psalms.

Psalm 10  “A Cry for Syria’s Children”  and

Psalm 11  “The Mockers are Loud”

Worn Bible 2This is the previous image that the reader was concerned about.

5 thoughts on “The Tale of Two Bibles

  1. Neither of these is good! The one on the bottom never gets read…terrible! The one on top is just as bad, to treat God’s Holy Word in such a casual, disrespectful and irreverent manner! Try to imagine Moses, Ezra, Jesus or Paul taking a highlighter or a pen and marking up their sacred scrolls or manuscripts, putting their own thoughts in and making it look like a jumbled mess? It doesn’t compute, does it? This is a horrible and irreverent modern tradition that was started by Calvinists who created the Geneva Bible, filling it with their own thoughts and applications. Too many people today treat God’s Word as though it were just some casual thing to put their own thoughts in, scribble all over it, mark it up however they see fit. Nothing should be within the cover of a Bible except the text of God’s Word, and very little else.


    1. Alamobuck,
      I disagree. But you are entitlted to your opinion. The marked up Bible is overdone, I will give you that, but the reader of that Bible is in a much better position than the owner of the never opened Bible. Let’s agree on this, READ YOUR BIBLE and become of doer of what you read.


  2. Oh, I’ll agree with you that a “never opened Bible” is really bad news; but that’s not what I was referring to.I read my Bible every single day, usually several times a day, but it doesn’t have a mark in it. I have too much reverence for it to mark it up, color in it like it’s a children’s coloring book, scribble in it, put my own thoughts in it, etc. As I said previously, when I try to picture Jesus, Ezra, Paul or any other Biblical persons treating their sacred scrolls in this manner, it does not compute…they would never have done such a thing, and we shouldn’t either. We have developed such a casual attitude toward God’s Word, and toward God Himself. I’ve heard “believers” call Jesus their “homeboy,” and any of a number of other irreverent terms. I’ve seen people (on more occasions than I can count) read their Bible and decide they didn’t like the way a particular verse reads, but they are okay with that…they just reach for their bookshelf and grab another version, then another, and another, until they find one that is more sugar-coated and fits what they want to believe. Sad.


    1. I don’t think it is inherently disrepectful to write notes in margins, undeline key words, highlight verses for memorization etc. It could be done that way but it is more disrepectul to read the word of the living God and fail to do what it says. On people searching different translations: Again, not inherently evil unless one is looking for a favorable or more palatable translation to suit the readers own prejudices. But no translation is perfect and there are times that even my preferred translation (for literal accuracy and readability) at times needs some correction. But that is why preachers study Hebrew and Greek and consult the history of how a text has been understood by the church universal.

      Again, keep reading and doing what you read, whether you mark or read an unmarked Bible.


  3. I’m not going to kid you, Brother. I do have bigger fish to fry than trying to be dogmatic about whether a person makes notes in their Bible. I stumbled upon this post and felt the need to chime in, but definitely didn’t expect, nor want, a protracted debate. I’d much rather preach the Word of God and proclaim the Truth in a generation where our churches are filled with apostasy and false gospels. But I do feel that a Bible that is scribbled in, colored in, etc, is a sign of a very casual (as opposed to reverent) attitude toward God’s Word, and toward God Himself. I don’t like to get argumentative about this, but I do want the “A-Bible-that-is-marked-up-and-falling-apart-from-being-thrown-around-like-a-frisbee-is-a-sign-of-a-close-walk-with-God” crowd to see the other side of this. A Bible like either of those shown above are not a sign of spirituality; one is irreverent and the other is carnal.


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