So, it's the day after Christmas, and resting in your hands 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.
Handling a Brand New Bible
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 nearly 30 years ago to use in Bible school. I had 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.
5 Steps to Breaking in Your New Bible
- Hold your closed Bible in one hand and place the spine on a flat, hard surface.
- 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.
- Repeat with opposite cover.
- 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.
- 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.
A Few More Bible Care Tips
- 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.
- Try not to bend the covers or bend the spine backwards. It's best to lay the Bible on a flat surface when open.
- Don't stuff papers and church bulletins into your Bible. This adds stress to the spine.
- Press out curled and folded page corners regularly to keep them from cracking and tearing.
- 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:
4 Most Important Steps
- Read it.
- Read it again.
- Read it once more.
- Repeat steps 1-3.