A reader, Jory, emailed me with this question:
"Is there a proper way to dispose of an old, worn out Bible that is falling apart? I figured there might be a certain way to respectfully dispose of it, but I am not sure, and I would most certainly not want to simply throw it away."
There are no specific scriptural instructions on how to dispose of an old Bible. While God's Word is holy and to be honored (Psalm 138:2), there's nothing sacred or hallowed in the physical materials: the paper, parchment, leather, and ink.
Unlike Judaism which requires a Torah scroll that is damaged beyond repair to be buried in a Jewish cemetery, discarding an old Christian Bible is a matter of personal conviction. While some may prefer to keep cherished copies of the Good Book for sentimental reasons, if a Bible is truly worn or damaged beyond use, it can be disposed of in whatever manner one's conscience dictates.
Oftentimes, however, an old Bible can be easily repaired, and many organizations—churches, prison ministries, and charities—are set up to recycle and reuse them.
Countless Christians cannot afford to purchase a new Bible, so a donated Bible is a valuable gift. Before you throw away an old Bible, prayerfully consider giving it to someone or donating it to a local church or ministry.