by Franklin Kirksey
What author would not want to write a best-seller? A runaway bestselling book can create a media sensation and generate millions of dollars for the author and publisher.
Publishers sell twenty-five million copies of the Bible each year, making it the perennial best-seller. According to some estimates 90 percent of Americans have at least one copy.
Mrs. Carol Lisenby recently brought a miniature Bible to church. She inherited it from her mother, the late Velma Massey Thompson, who lived for many years in Mt. Vernon, Alabama. This readable Bible measures an inch and one half by an inch and one quarter and contains both the Old and New Testament.
Recently, I read about a person renovating a cottage in Great Britain who discovered a miniature Bible in a child's boot measuring about an inch wide and a half inch thick. The tiny book published by David Bryce and Son of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1901, carries the nickname "mini mite" or "thumb Bible." According to Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology magazine, it is "said to be the smallest complete Bible ever printed." This might be true in terms of Bibles printed on paper, but technological advancements have made the way for even smaller Bibles. For example, Serenity Technologies produced a Bible-Pendant containing the entire text of the Old and New Testament "micro-etched into a film of metal and framed within unique wood carvings." This Bible is possibly the world's smallest readable Bible.
Seeing and investigating these miniature Bibles caused me to think about the Bible in the following ways.
First, we are to respect the Bible. Longtime pastor and Bible commentator, John G. Butler, laments, "Many schools and churches that once were sound doctrinally but have departed from the faith first evidenced their problem when they began to diminish their respect and devotion to the Word."
David writes, "I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth: For You have magnified Your word above all Your name" (Psalm 138:2). God thinks very highly of His Word, therefore, the Bible deserves a place of honor in our lives. Those who disrespect and disregard the Bible, do so to their own peril.
Herbert V. Prochnow tells about "Little Timothy [who] bought Grandma a Bible for Christmas and wanted to write a suitable inscription on the flyleaf. He racked his brain until suddenly he remembered that his father had a book with an inscription of which he was very proud. So Tim decided to copy it. Imagine Grandma's surprise on Christmas morning when she opened her gift, a beautiful Bible, and found inscribed the following phrase: To Grandma, with the compliments of the Author.'"
Furthermore, we are to read the Bible. Ironically, the world's all-time bestseller is also the least-read book. Mark Twain once said, "He who does not read good books has no advantage over he who cannot read them." In a similar vein Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe writes in the Introduction to The One Year Book of Devotions for Men, "May it never be said of us that we had the ability to read, we had the most priceless book available for reading, but we lived our lives without becoming biblically literate."
The Psalmist confesses, "Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it" (Psalm 119:140). Daniel Webster humbly admits, "If there be anything in my style or thoughts to be commended, the credit is due to my kind parents for instilling into my mind an early love of the Scriptures."
Finally, we are to receive the Bible. As the Apostle Paul explains, "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe" (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Dr. Vance Havner quipped, "If you see a Bible that is falling apart, it probably belongs to someone who isn't!"
The nation's largest Bible rebinding plant is located in Greenwood, Mississippi. The Norris Bookbinding Company used the following quotation attributed to Robert Cleaver Chapman in their advertising: "This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword and the Christian's character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."
May you truly enjoy the world's all-time bestseller!
Franklin Kirksey pastors First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama