IN PRAISE OF A NEW OLD BIBLE
If you visit my church office you will see two well used, old and beat up, New Scofield Reference Bibles. There were three but one of them made its’ way to my home office. They are all underlined and highlighted with a rainbow of colors. The pages are torn, the binding is worn, but the leather is still good. I’m not sure why I’ve held on to them, but there they are.
You may ask, “Why Scofield?” just as some of my friends have asked, “Why King James Version?” I started with a generic Bible, bought, being a good Pentecostal, a Dakes “Anointed” References Bible, (it actually read “annotated” but we believed it was anointed), a Hertel Blue Ribbon Bible from a Bible salesman, and eventually the Scofield. But that doesn’t answer either questions.
Why Scofield? Early on I liked the references. The concordance is more than adequate for a quick study and the chain references make sense. There are some interesting tidbits on the original language in the middle references, and Scofield’s commentary scattered throughout. But those are not the reasons that I continued to buy Scofield.
(Side Note: I don’t agree with much of Scofield’s commentary, being a long way from Calvinist or pre-millennial, but I am always open to what others believe and why.)
The real reason that I continued to buy Scofield is that in the early days of my preaching my notes were handwritten (later typed) on a sheet of typing paper folded in half. I keyed the front page to the appropriate text in the Scofield Bible, wrote on both sides, slid it in at the text, held in place with two paper clips and was ready to go. I have a briefcase full of those sermons—all coded to the layout of a New Scofield Reference Bible. So… after the first came the second, and after the second the third. Then they stopped publishing the New Scofield Reference Bible and I moved on.
I never did move on from the KJV. The reasons are simple. The prose is eloquent. The verbiage delightful. Where else can you find a phrase like, “hither and thither?” You may say that the KJV isn’t a very good translation and you would be accurate. But neither are the rest. They are all translations and the best translation can never catch the nuance of the original language. I think God planned it that way.
I asked a question in a recent message based on the story of the woman caught in adultery found in the Gospel of John. It was raised by an observation that has nothing to do with the story. Jesus wrote in the sand. If He wrote in the sand it is obvious that He could write. The question was, “If Jesus could write why didn’t He write down what He wanted to say?” He could have. He didn’t. He put value on His words—“he that heareth these saying of Mine and doeth them…”— but He didn’t write His sayings down. Why not?
I love the Bible. Sixty-six books written by thirty-three authors over a span of about sixteen hundred years. In 363 A.D. the Council of Laodicia canonized the Old Testament and the first twenty-six books of the New Testament as inspired. Thirty-three years later the Book of
Revelation was added at the Council of Carthage. There is some controversy as to the exact dates but these are generally accepted. Why the history lesson? The question. Almost three hundred years elapsed between the time that Jesus spoke and the time that we got what we consider the Bible. And when He wrote He wrote in the sand. Hmmm?!?
A few weeks ago, I noticed that my current Bible was wearing out and overly marked with a rainbow of highlights. Cheap bonded leather! Not the fine Corinthian leather of the Oxford edition of the New Scofield Reference Bible. (Corinthian leather—it doesn’t get any more Biblical than that!) So I looked on line, and yea verily, there I found any number of 1967 Edition New Scofield Reference Bibles. Most were described as “barely used.”
My new old Bible is on the way. I’m looking forward to using it.
When you join me “Behind The Door” I’m going to share my approach to scripture and how to read it. I’ll give you further insight into why Jesus wrote once, in the sand. You will be richer for the reading. If you have this month’s password you can go “Behind The Door” right now. If you don’t you need to sow a seed of any amount into the ministry. Just hit the “Sowing” button. The default setting is twenty-dollars. You can sow less (no one does), or sow more, as many do. The password will be automatically sent by email. BTW—My “How To Read The Bible” is something that I’m asked to repeat every time I share it. Most folk get bogged down because they don’t know how to read it. Check it out!