One of the strangest and most uncomfortable choices I made in Spain while I was looking for ways to make my luggage lighter was the decision to leave my bible behind in Malaga.
Now the bible I had been using and travelling with was a huge hard cover NIV with half of each page taken up with the scriptures themselves and the other half with study notes and maps and cross-references and character profiles and all sorts of other meta-biblical stuff. It was all very interesting, but not very practical for packing in a rucksack. So I left it behind.
Nor was the dangerous symbolism associated with abandoning the scriptures to go travelling on my own through Europe lost on me. I felt superstitiously uneasy as we pulled out of the train station, so I decided not to think too hard about it and focussed instead on finding ferry tickets to Tangiers.
But the subversive niggle of realising I was a Christian who didn’t even own a bible never really left me alone and took up residence in the back of my head alongside equally insidious influences such as the feeling that I should update my blog more regularly and the suspicion that I should probably take better care of my teeth.
Once I got back to Australia, however, I knew it was time to set things right. I gritted my teeth (I’ve got to stop doing that) and headed for that ever-present help in time of nothing else to write about: Koorong Christian Bookshop.
Now I have ranted, a little harshly perhaps, on the questionable usefulness of some materials in Koorong in the past, but when it comes to places where you can buy bibles, Koorong certainly is one. They’ve got a whole section with shelves and shelves of them, which might seem excessive these days, but then if you’re going to run a Christian bookshop, the one thing you’re going to want to stock lots of is the Christian book.
They had bibles in every possible size and colour. Every translation I’d ever heard of and a few I hadn’t. Red letter bibles, large print bibles, amplified bibles. Everything from just the text and nothing else through to cross-referenced, annotated, indexed, concorded and inclusive of a CD with extra… I don’t even know what.
So which one did I choose?
As enticing as the gigantic annotated versions were, I decided my days of carrying a besser-brickesque book around with me were behind me. The study notes in the old one never really answered the questions I was interested in anyway. This is probably because the questions I’m interested in can’t really be answered in a four page essay, let alone a footnote at the bottom of a chapter. Also, I’m getting to the stage where if I want to take bible studies to the next level, then footnotes aren’t going to cut it anymore.
I went with a slim line black soft cover NIV with notes on translation choices but nothing else. I’ve borrowed one of my mother’s bible commentaries, so the new plan is to start again from the beginning with a book-by-book analysis by a guy who reputedly knows what he’s on about. So here we go again; chapter one.
In the beginning, God…
Far from home
Garry with 2 Rs