For this week’s CHN Community Responds question, we decided to go with a question that was less doctrinal and more focused on personality types. We asked our community: “Do you write in your Bible?”
The replies were fascinating- hardly anyone responded with a simple “yes” or “no.” We got back elaborate descriptions of writing techniques, folk tales of legendary Bible inscribers of old, and more than a couple of people who flat out refused, under any circumstances, to write in the margins of their favorite edition of Sacred Scripture. Read and enjoy:
“I highlight in my Bible. That is, if I can find a decent highlighter that doesn’t bleed through the pages. If not, I have found colored marking pencils at the local Christian bookstore, which resemble my sons’ twist-up pencil-crayons, so now I end up using those. Not marking in the Bible is too frustrating when I am searching for a particular verse without remembering the number. Although long-time favorite verses can be recalled by chapter number and verse, highlighting helps me find my newest insights. Otherwise, I tend to recall only what side of the page it was on, and leafing through an entire Bible is very time-consuming, to say the least!!”
-Wendy Hart, Financial Assistant, The Coming Home Network
“Question: Do you write in your Bible?
Objection 1: It would seem that improper to write in one’s Bible. As we are told in Scripture, “My son, forget not my law, and thy heart keep my commandments…write them in the tables of thy heart” (Proverbs 3:1, 3 Douay-Rheims). We are to write God’s words in our hearts, not scribble our own words in God’s Word.
Objection 2: “And he said to me: Son of man, thy belly shall eat, and thy bowels shall be filled with this book, which I give thee. And I did eat it: and it was sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezekiel 3:3). Clearly then we are to eat and digest Holy Scripture so that it becomes a part of our innermost selves. Who writes on their food?
On the contrary, did not Job cry out, “Oh, that my words were written? Oh that they were inscribed in a book!” (Job 19:22)… Read the whole thing. It’s brilliant.
-Dr Kevin Vost, author of “The One Minute Aquinas”
“I absolutely write in my Bible! I use what I’ve heard described as a “Coffee Table Bible” because it’s a huge edition that looks like it could be filled with scrap bookings. Along my journey back to the faith I have inscribed many feelings and spiritual places that I have been along the way within the margins, and it is a great gift to be able to reflect back upon those. I have also added my own historical reference notes, which are especially useful through Old Testament writings. Most importantly, though, are my notes regarding how I relate to the scripture and where I see myself in the readings.”
Scott Weeman, CatholicinRecovery.com
“Almost embarrassed to admit it but I can’t do it!
I’ll leave it to others to assess my piety and/so psychological condition but I like to keep my Bible in pristine condition. Here are some of my reasons:
I like things kept in good condition. My house, my furniture, my front and back yards, my car. I like things looking good. I keep my guitars buffed out and polished and hate it when they get scratched. I’m the opposite of guys like Willy Nelson who have the entire face of their guitar worn away and holes bashed in the front and all. And I treat my books the same way. I hate it when they get banged up and the dust covers torn. I just like things that look pristine and that includes my Bible. Don’t like it when pages get bent, etc…” Read more
-Ken Hensley, co-author of “The Godless Delusion”
“YES! I write in the Bible I use the most. I also highlight in it. My favorite priests have given me so many references to questions I’ve had that I’ve written their initials next to each one. Also, when I get an inspiration while reading I’ll write it down next to the passage. It becomes a “who I am” record. I love the saying that “the Bible that’s falling apart” (though mine is intact!) “belongs to someone who’s not!” Since God has “taken the trouble” to write me a love letter, the least I can do is reply.”
Estelle, CHN Community Forums
“My New American Standard is marked, highlighted and has notes and comments. My NAB is not. I can find what I want in the NAS Bible since I have used it for years, and then go to my NAB. Works for me!”
gacatholic, CHN Community Forums
And a few fun ones from social media:
YES!!! I underline in red!!! I highlight like there’s no tomorrow!!! How else could you read the Bible???😇🙏🏻✝️
— DrPhil of Technology (@techdecisions) June 13, 2016
Write, Underline. Highlight. Etc.
I have to get a new one every couple of years to start over. I use them daily & am not gentle.
— Marcel LeJeune (@MarcelLeJeune) June 13, 2016
Read more responses in the CHN Community Forums, and please feel welcome to add your own thoughts on this week’s question!