As long as I can remember I thought the Bible was sacred and holy. I have always held it carefully like something that was special and I had to handle with care. Because I thought it was a holy book, when I first started going to Bible study groups, I did not highlight or write in it. When I was learning something new about a Scripture passage, I would write it in the study book or in a notebook. Then I started noticing others wrote in their Bibles.
And I started wondering why had I believed I could not write in my Bible? Where did I pick that up? Had I been taught that at some point in my upbringing? Or did I come up with that on my own? I doubt that. Most likely someone, somewhere, at some time, told me writing in a Bible was sacrilegious.
I mulled it over a long time and I finally decided God wouldn't care if I wrote in it and marked it up. (Matter of fact that is the premise of Inductive Bible Study - to highlight different words different colors and underline words to enhance your understanding!) I believe studying God's Word and writing down what I learn in my Bible and highlighting what impacts me makes Him smile. I'm reading and studying it! And that is sure to please Him.
I go to a church where the Word of God is preached and I'm pretty blown away by the biblical knowledge of the people who attend. As far as I can tell, pretty much everyone in my Sunday School class reads the Bible. The people seem spiritually mature - full of love and caring for others. But I also noticed many of them don't mark or write in their Bibles. Their Bibles look well-loved, a bit worn, but for the most part they don't write in them like I do. Does that matter? No. I am a bit curious though.
It's weird, back when I was an Occasional Christian and just beginning to read the Bible, I don't think I really understood what holy and sacred was. I would hear the minister or other believers say the Bible was the Word of God and in my mind I would think, 'I don't know if I believe that.' It was written by men a long time ago. They had to have made mistakes. How could we be sure what we have today is what they wrote? How do we know it is from God and not the men's ideas? I guess I thought the Bible was a good book, worthy to read, had some good moral values in it, but also had some out-dated not-applicable ideas too. I just didn't completely buy the Bible was God's Word and therefore, that I had to live by what it said.
But then I read the Bible. And I learned how we got it. The fact that it was written over a period of about 1500 years, by over 40 authors, on 3 continents, by men from all walks of life; and has a UNIFIED BODY OF TEACHING - well, that was only something God could do. The theology Isaiah wrote about in 700 B.C. matches the theology Paul wrote about in A.D. 60! And then to look at the manuscript evidence we have (over 5900 part or whole of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament books as of 2012) and how scholars pour over the variances in those manuscripts that came from 3 continents and various centuries and not one variance impacts any theological concept - well, that convinced me! I remember researching the variances in the manuscript evidence and suddenly breaking down crying. There just isn't any way that is a coincidence. It was God.
We are very sure we know the text of the books of the Bible in their original languages. And then to look at the translation process where scholars with incredible credentials pour over each and every word to best translate it into our languages makes us convinced God's Word is conveyed to us as the original writers wrote them.
I didn't just accept that the Bible was God's Word based on someone just saying that to me. I came to this belief over a period of many years as I learned how we got the Bible, how it is reliable in text, and as I read the Bible for myself. I concluded it had to be God. I totally, completely, absolutely believe God preserved His Word for us. And that belief has very sound logical reasoning.
If you hooked me up to a lie detector test today and asked me if I believed the Bible is God's Word - inerrant, infallible, and applicable for my life - I would answer yes, and I would pass that I believe how I answered is true.
What a difference it has made reading it while believing it really is His Word!
Yes, indeed it is ironic I wouldn't write in my Bible because I thought it was holy and sacred and now I believe it is holy and sacred and I write all over it. It makes me chuckle.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.