What shape is your Bible?


Bibles (Photo credit: fancycwabs)

Interesting article a while ago on the physical form that a Bible takes and how that affects those who use it. In Christianity Today, David Neff’s “How the Physical Form of a Bible Shapes Us” notes the identifying characteristics of a “real” Bible:

Back then, the default meaning of Bible for Christians in my group was the King James Version. The default physical form was a black leather binding.

Neff goes on to consider a particular form of the Bible, the “Family Bible” — oversized, illustrated, and containing special pages for noting significant family events such as births, deaths, and marriages.

The format of a Bible has changed significantly since the days of the flexible black leather cover and gold-edged pages. Now one can find Bibles bound in any number of ways, as well as Bibles that aren’t bound at all, but exist only as digital information in a computer or Kindle.

I remember a debate my young sons had long ago. They disagreed about something and one, wishing to sustain his argument, asked me if I had a Bible that he could swear on. The only Bible I had right then was on my laptop computer, and that led to a debate over whether it was sufficient to “swear on the Bible” simply by touching the laptop, or whether the Bible program actually had to be loaded and running for it to “work.”

What forms has the Bible taken in your experience? Is there a particular format that you feel is a “real” Bible? How has the Bible been a physical presence in your life?


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