This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Unused Rainbows

Did it ever occur to you that the Bible is a different book for every earnest man or woman? When you think of the Bible, you think of your Bible, not somebody else’s Bible. And that is but natural, for it is the same way we judge our friends. Our friend is different to us than he is to anyone else, and in our thoughts of him, he is a different man, in many ways, than he is in the mental portrait drawn by some other person whose friendship with him is as close and intimate as ours. So, the Bible is a personal book and belongs to each of us in a peculiar way. One of the special blessings of becoming a Christian in youth is that it gives our Bible a good long period to grow in beauty and blessing.

I was very much impressed, recently, in making a pastoral call on a lady who had but a few weeks before had been greatly afflicted by the death of her mother, by another phase of this growth and development in the Bible. The mother, who had gone away to heaven, had been a very devoted Christian woman through a long life and had dearly loved her Bible. The sorrowing daughter brought me that precious book to examine. It was an old-fashioned-looking book, bound in the thick leather so common a hundred years ago.

But thick and heavy as the binding had been, it was well worn and frayed at the edges from much use. And many chapters showed evidence of having been read and re-read repeatedly.

One fascinating characteristic of this Bible was that many places were marked with the occasion when they had been used for the dear woman’s comfort. Here was one that was read at the funeral of her child. Here was another that had been her comforter when she was sick. Here was another that she had rejoiced in in a time of great happiness. And so all through the Bible were these little wayside shrines where the good woman had paused in her pilgrimage to worship God, oz to find the comfort or the inspiration she needed on hard days, or to express her joy and gratitude in times of happiness and rejoicing.

I was greatly interested in hearing the daughter tell how delighted she had been to find that many of these passages, which had been such a comfort to her mother, were now of the greatest possible comfort to her. However, she had never noticed them with any particular interest until after the great sorrow of her mother’s death came upon her. And with tearful eyes, she turned to me and asked: “Why do these verses which I did not before care for seem so new and precious to me now? Is it because my mother loved them so, and I loved them on her account?” I told her I thought there was a deeper reason for it. Her mother had found the comfort of these heavenly words in times when great sorrow and trial had come to her own life and had marked them then, and the daughter now rejoices in them because she has grown into the same experience. She has grown up to her Bible. She had not found them before because she had not specially needed them, but now that she needs them, they are waiting there, running over with blessing and comfort.

As I returned the worn and soiled book, I said: “That book must be a great treasure to you these days!”

“Ah, yes,” was her answer, “a big fortune would not buy that book from me. When I see that, mother seems nearer to me than at any other time. I see her again in her rocking chair by the window with the Bible on her knees and the old far-away look of heavenly peace on her face.”

I walked away from that home thinking how many people there are who are losing beyond all possibility of recovery by not planting out a Bible in youth to have it growing and blossoming and bearing its fruit through all the years of life.

To make a Bible grow well, it must be well tended; you must dig about the roots, find out the deep, hidden meanings that lie underneath the surface, rejoice in the spiritual suggestions that come only to those who search for them, who seek for them as a miner digs for gold. For a Bible to flourish, it must be well watered, with tears of repentance, thanksgiving, and gratitude. It must have lots of sunshine and air. Its pages must be turned frequently and given a breathing chance to influence and mold your life. When you are sad, you must go to it for solace; when you are glad, you must go to it for words of praise; when you are earnest, you must go to it for inspiration to do daring deeds; when you are discouraged, you must go to it for the good cheer that will give “songs in the night.” Air your Bible this way; it will never get old or dry. It will keep new and fresh, and out of such old pages as the “Shepherd’s Psalm” or the “Twelfth of Romans” or the “Thirteenth of First Corinthians” or the “Third of Revelation,” there will spring up new fountains of water that will make glad the desert places of life and cause the roses to bloom from out the parched ground of trial.

Original Copyright
Banks, Louis Albert. Unused Rainbows: Prayer Meeting Talks. Fleming H Revell, 1901.

Updated Copyright
2023 Louis Banks and Nathan Zipfel, revised and updated.



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