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Mary Fairchild

How to Break In a New Bible

By December 26, 2012

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Opening a New Bible
So, it's the day after Christmas, and resting in your arms is your most treasured Christmas gift—a brand new Bible. Or maybe you've just made a fresh commitment to read through the Scriptures, and you're eager to start experiencing rich times of fellowship as you feast on God's living Word.

Before you crack open those precious pages, I have a question for you: Did you know there's a proper way to break in a new Bible?

I'll never forget purchasing my first leather Bible 25 years ago to use in Bible school. I picked out the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible at the local Christian bookstore. That day, Uncle Al, the owner of the store, gave me an important lesson—New Bible 101—as he demonstrated the proper procedures for opening and caring for a new Bible. (Even now, that old Bible is one of my favorites. I've marked it up from cover to cover and worn the edges to tatters, but I still use it.)

In truth, I have no evidence that this method actually adds to your Bible's life span, but the experts at Oxford University Press say it works, and I thought it might be fun to do this exercise together.

Here goes:

  1. Hold your closed Bible in one hand and place the spine on a flat, hard surface.
  2. While holding the closed leaves of the Bible upright, take one cover and gently smooth it out on the flat surface, running your fingers along the fold near the spine.
  3. Repeat with opposite cover.
  4. Next, part a few pages at a time and smooth them down gently, running your fingers along the fold near the spine. Alternate from front to back until you reach the center of the Bible.
  5. Repeat step 4, once or twice.

With the Bible open in the middle, I also like to run my fingers along the edges of the pages at the corners, fanning the gilding to loosen the sticky gold leafing. This helps prevent pages from adhering together and accidentally tearing as you turn them.

Here are a few more Bible care tips:

  1. Don't leave your Bible in your car. Heat, cold, sun, humidity, etc., tend to dry out the leather and cause your Bible to wear faster.
  2. Try not to bend the covers or bend the spine backwards. It's best to lay the Bible on a flat surface when open.
  3. Don't stuff papers and church bulletins into your Bible. This adds stress to the spine.
  4. Press out curled and folded page corners regularly to keep them from cracking and tearing.
  5. Keep your Bible dry. Don't expose it to rain or drop it in a toilet (like I did once!).

Okay, now you're ready for the most important steps to breaking in your new Bible:

  1. Read it.
  2. Read it again.
  3. Read it once more.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3.

Image: roofus

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December 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(1) Connie G. says:

Awesome tips – especially those last three ;)

December 31, 2009 at 11:53 am
(2) Zec says:

You dropped your Bible in a toilet. I know there’s a story there so spill it! LOL Oh and enjoy Hell. Dropping a Bible in a toilet has got to be a sin! LOL

December 31, 2009 at 2:22 pm
(3) Mary says:

Zec –

Mid 1980s … I was covering a youth conference at a retreat center, late for an interview with Christian artist Steve Camp (remember him?). Had to make a quick pit stop in the public restroom first. The only place to set my Bible down was on the toilet tank lid. Thankfully, I had already flushed when, in my hurry, I grabbed, but dropped the Bible instead. Needless to say, my dripping Bible and interview notes were great icebreakers to get the ball rolling in the interview.

January 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm
(4) Karen says:

It’s good advice for any hardcover book you value — and I value books.

Happy New Year to all

January 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm
(5) Marilyn says:

I love books too, and I agree with Karen. Those are good steps to break in any book – including new LIBRARY books. Think of all the people wanting to read a best-seller but can’t pay the price of a hardcover. The tenth and subsequent persons who put in a ‘please hold’ request will get a book with a broken spine if the first nine aren’t kind.

December 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm
(6) Joyce says:

I love these tips and as far as the bathroom, what better place to read and not be disturbed, to concentrate on what you are reading. I don’t believe God cares where we read as long as we do it.

October 6, 2012 at 9:14 am
(7) Mike says:

Interesting, as I’m reading this article and the comments, I look to my right and see an advertisement for the Mormon Church… It reads “I believe in the power of music and that God allows U-turns. My name is Alex Boye and I’m a Mormon.”

January 1, 2013 at 8:26 pm
(8) angela says:

Beautiful poem Mary, I love your website!

January 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm
(9) phyllis says:

thanks – great tips for a new bible – now i need to read, read and read again

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