That Old King James

I heard a country song the other day (yes, there is some country music I listen to) and the lyrics made me take notice for just a brief moment.  The singer is reminiscing about his beloved grandfather and how he acquired a brand new King James Bible when he was 8 years old.  The song goes on to talk about how the Bible is passed down through a couple of generations, what it means to each recipient and the faith each one of them had in “that Old King James.”

My own copy of scripture is starting to show some signs of age.  No, it isn’t a King James translation, but this particular Bible is becoming well worn.  I’ve had it for several years now and it has been with me through joys and triumphs, tears and gladness.  The parchment paper is becoming thinner, some of my handwritten notes have started to fade with time and the binding is starting to fray in places.  The Book seems to open without effort to the familiar and favorite scriptures I have been to time and again.

imageAs I was reading one of those familiar passages this morning, my thoughts turned to my Dad. He had one of those “old King James” my country crooner sings about. It wasn’t a fancy Bible, certainly not a study edition like mine. Just a simple red-letter copy of scripture.  I could picture it in his hands each Sunday as we went to church.  I remembered it on Wednesday evenings when we would go to Bible study.  He used that Bible to prepare Sunday School lessons, and no doubt he turned to it countless times for comfort and strength.  It is certainly well-worn.  There are numerous notes in the margins, all in my Dad’s meticulous handwriting.

You can learn a lot about a person by picking up their favorite Bible. My Dad was a man of deep faith; his faith was firmly rooted in his knowledge of scripture.  He could point the way to salvation in Jesus on the “Roman Road” with his small Bible.  And he studied Revelation – a lot! He walks the streets of heaven now – all scripture fulfilled for him. How glorious that must be!

I hope someday my Bible might, too, be a journal of my faith. Perhaps my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will consider it a legacy. At the very least, I hope they can look through the pages and know that “my faith found a resting place.”  I pray, like my dad’s old King James, my Bible can be a lasting Ebenezer of faith, hope and love.

And… the way…… I have some well-loved hymnals, too. 🙂

“You’ll find on every other page yellow lines or tear drop stains;
Every chapter of that good book, been through cancer, war and crazy kids
and all the stupid things I did.
Now the cover’s torn and the leather’s worn on that Old King James”
From “That Old King James”  by Philip White and Mark Nessler
as sung by Scotty McCreery



About Tina Swaggerty Collins

Tina currently serves on staff at Ball Camp Baptist Church. A music graduate of Carson-Newman College, Tina has been active in church music ministry for over 30 years and is an ordained minister. She is the mother to two amazing grown children, who still allow her to be a nurturing mom from time to time. Her blog is an invitation to step into her life as a mom, a minister and a follower.
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