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Please Write in Your Bible

Write in Your Bible

“This shall be written for the generation to come; and the people who shall be created shall praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).

Please go to the front of your Bible and write in it.

Start by putting your own name.

Often, when I pick up the Bibles of friends to see what they have written in them, I’m chagrined to see they don’t even have their names.

Write in your Bible, friend. Please.

At Christmas 1973, my aunt Eren gave to her mother, my wonderful grandmother Bessie Lowery McKeever, a Bible. Grandma died in 1982, but not before marking up that Bible.

I now own it. It is a treasure beyond price.

This morning, I read something I had never seen before, that made the tears flow. (I was looking up the text above, and Grandma’s Bible was handy.)

In the margin beside Psalm 103:17, Grandma had written “One of Papa’s favorite verses.”

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.

I never knew Grandpa Lowery, her father. I have been told he was a preacher of the Word, and a Baptist at that. And, that as a little girl, Grandma would accompany him as he went out to preach. Other than that, I know nothing of him. Thanks to Grandma’s notes in the front of this Bible, I have his name: George Marion Lowery. And his wife, my great-grandmother, was Sarah Jane Blocker, whose birthdate is listed as January 1, 1852. (Grandma Bessie was born in 1895, was married in 1910, and became a mother the first time in 1912 when my dad Carl arrived, and for the 12th time with the birth of Georgelle in 1936, six months after being widowed.)

In his life, my dad gave me two Bibles. The first came in 1948 when he asked me to “come go with me,” and we walked the railroad tracks up to Sophia, West Virginia. Inside the variety store he asked a clerk to “Show us your Bibles.” He let me pick out one, a black zippered beauty that I read every night. Then, sometime in the last few years of his life, he gave me Grandma’s Bible along with some interesting instructions.

“Don’t tell people you’ve got it.”

“Some” in the family—presumably a sibling or two—would want the Bible if they knew it existed. So, I was to keep it but say nothing about it. I assume it’s safe to do so now. It’s a treasure.

I’m in favor of people writing in their Bibles.

I started to preach the funeral of optometrist Dr. J.E. Gooch, a deacon in our church who had fought under General George Patton in the Second World War. The Third Army had liberated Hitler’s death camps and Dr. Gooch had scores of photographs to document it.

Just before the service began, Dr. Gooch’s son approached me. “Pastor, I thought you’d like to see this.” He handed me his dad’s Bible.

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Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.