One Book

Open Bible
What is your favourite book?

 

I remember ‘Each Peach, Pear, Plum’ – the first book I carried home from school on the bus at the age of five. I left it on the bus and there was no end to my distraught tears. I loved it because it had a whole cast of characters from nursery rhymes, as though they had all met up behind the scenes. I loved the comfort and the rhythm of the words.

 

I remember getting my Good News Bible when I was seven, my first ‘proper’ Bible, and the mornings that I got up at 6.30am to read it. I revelled in the stories, and could name all the Bible heroes.
 

*******
 

I remember Enid Blyton, stacked in piles under my pillow so I could whip them out as soon as my parents had left the room. I would hold my bedside lamp under the covers while I followed the next adventure of the Famous Five. I remember the hole in my duvet cover from where the lightbulb had been too close, and the black, singed pieces of hardened cloth falling onto the sheet.
 

I remember taking my Bible to camp, and the stickers covering it, ‘seven days without prayer makes one weak’ and other such witticisms, and the notes and prayers written in the title pages from fellow campers who were embarking on the adventure with me. I started posting up special verses, ones that had spoken to me.
 

*******
 

I remember my teens and Robert Cormier and William Golding and George Orwell. I raged against the institution and I was going to change the world someday.
 

I remember my NIV paperback, so well-thumbed that it proclaimed proudly on the front, ‘Bibles which are falling apart are usually read by people who aren’t.’
 

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I remember Silvia Plath and delicious darkness; Shakespeare’s elegant lyrical acrobatics; Jane Austen’s sarcasm, Keats and the comfort of melancholy; Camus and Beckett and the verse of despair. I drank in the words and wondered if I were falling apart after all, if we were all falling apart.
 

I remember my Study Bible, my questions, my underlinings, my tears, my searching and researching; the mourning of dismantling and then the joy of seeing it as an architect – oh, this is how it fits together!
 

*****
I remember fighting with God through it and because of it, rejoicing at the words written as though just for me, reading the same thing again but feeling like I was reading it for the first time. At times the Bible has been to me a sword that strikes so deep it divides bone from marrow and I feel the spiritual pain as it does so; at times cool water to my thirsty soul and honey to my spirit.
 

To declare love, true love for God’s word is to declare war with my will, and every time I pick it up I do battle.
 

I have a whole wall of books written by fine people, and their words are beautiful, but none are life like this book. It speaks of my Saviour and carries his whisper into my life, when my heart is still enough to hear it.
 

“O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book!” ~John Wesley
 

“The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119:72 NIV)
 

Very late to the party, but this post was inspired by Amber Haines’ piece: An abstraction on a book.

 
Linking with Joy in this Journey, Imperfect Prose, WIP Weds 
 

Over to you:

  • What was your favourite fiction book(s) as a child?
  • What has your relationship with the Bible been like?

 
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30 Responses to One Book

  1. imperfect prose 16th October, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    To declare love, true love for God’s word is to declare war with my will, and every time I pick it up I do battle.

    LOVE this post, tanya. orwell and plath speak my language too. and you MUST read The Bell Jar 🙂

    • Tanya 17th October, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      Thank you, lovely Emily! And I shall check out the Bell Jar…

      • Cat 17th October, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        Yes you must Tanya! 🙂 i have a copy… I could bring it on Thursday along with introverts in the church? I will try to remember!! 🙂
        Have you read “The Handmaids Tale”?

  2. Cat 12th October, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I really love Silvia Plath’s poetry and found her book – The Bell Jar rather interesting. I love how she uses words to paint a really vivid and emotional picture of something! she reminds me of Margaret Atwood and how she uses words that are just come alive on the page! 🙂 Great stuff!

    • Tanya 12th October, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      I haven’t read the Bell Jar – I really should! Silva Plath is one of my favourite poets – as you say, just raw emotion. Thanks for stopping by – much appreciated!

  3. Sipech 11th October, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Love the post!

    As a kid, i could get never get enough Thomas the Tank Engine or The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Now, as an uncle, I get to inflict my loves to my nieces and nephews. Though I will admit to being jealous that they get The Gruffalo whilst we didn’t; it’s fantastic.

    As for the bible, my relationship is contantly evolving. I hope it’s maturing, but I can’t say for certain. I used to read tiny snippets, just a verse or two at a time. As I grew older, I thought that this missed a lot of the context and so read more and more. One of my favourite things to do is to get a bible with lots of cross references, and follow up all the cross references in a passage. You can end up getting lost but it’s nice to explore and end up in places you never expected when you started out.

    One of my more recent developments has been to attempt some of my own translations. I got an interlinear bible and a whopping great concordance so that where translations varied I had the tools to be able to look things up for myself.

    But I’m aware that the more detail I look at one area in, the more I am ignoring others. So I keep reading and exploring to battle my neglect and ignorance of things I had either forgotten or taken for granted.

    • Tanya 12th October, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      Lucky nieces and nephews, to have such a book-loving uncle! It’s an amazing privilege to pass down the literary treasures to the next generation. I am with you on Julia Donaldson though – she is fab.

      It’s interesting to hear how you do Bible study. I often like reading with my Accordance interlinear and my very rudimentary Greek. Even an interlinear can really help in translation stuff, and seeing how the various words are used. I always find it hard to get the balance between reading in depth and in breadth – it’s important to get both! I also like flicking between the KJV (very literal, and often the closest to the greek, despite its olde englishe) and The Message (which the more I read it, the more respect i have for it).

      Thanks so much for stopping by – much appreciated!

  4. Travis Mamone 11th October, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    Great post, Tanya! My own relationship with the Bible has changed throughout the years. First it was a great collection of stories, then it was right-winged propaganda, then it was a love letter, and now it’s a puzzle.

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks Travis – and that sounds like quite a journey!

  5. Dolly@Soulstops 11th October, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    I enjoyed reading your post, Tanya…I remember when God’s Word surprised me, by coming alive when I was eight years old, after asking Jesus to sit on the throne of my heart – alone in the bedroom I shared with my sister. Your observation about being still enough to hear is accurate…sometimes I hear Him, and sometimes I don’t, but I still consider it time well spent. Blessings to you 🙂

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      I love that little snapshot of you in the bedroom, asking Jesus to sit on the throne of your heart! Thanks so much for your comment.

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