my rocky relationship with the bible (part two)

The King James Version and the New King James Version of the Bible aren’t welcome at my house. I did feel a sense of guilt the day I opened my trash can on the curb, and threw in three King Jimmy’s. They were Bibles, after all, and I knew I probably shouldn’t do that with them, but I needed them out of my house just like I’d need a bad smell to get out immediatly. The King James Bible was odious to me and they had to go, immediately.

Besides which, the main one was a Hoffman Reference Bible, written by some idiot named David Hoffman in Ohio who thought he was the shit and that the King James Bible was directly inspired by the Holy Spirit again in 1611. It’s called the doctrine of double inspiration and I hope none of you ever hear of it again. It was THE Bible to own in that particular group. The only way I could have one-upped that was to get a Ruckman Reference Bible, but thanks be to God I was never quite that stupid or that desperate.

Anyway, all the King Jimmy’s were unceremoniously dumped in the trash, because I no longer wanted such weapons of oppression in my home. I know people are usually all excited about the King James Version and think it’s important for people to read. I say oh hell no, not unless it’s something they want. Nobody NEEDS the KJV to learn English, and remember, I learned to read on my father’s lap with a King James Bible.

I’m confident of the fact that under the circumstances (or any other circumstances whatsoever because Jesus is cool like this) that Jesus forgave my hostility and trashing of those Bibles. It took many years before I would really earnestly pick up a Bible of any version again to actually read it. On January 1, 2022, I started the Bible in a Year reading plan presented by Father Mike Schmitz and Ascension press. I’m glad I did, it has been spiritually nourishing ot me.

I recommend it with a caveat that I as someone who is not Roman Catholic (I am an Anglo Catholic Episcopalian) that I do not agree with or endorse everything in the podcast, but it is excellent and it’s something I’d recommend freely to anyone. The podcast uses the Catholic Bible (73 books) which I personally would tell you is a “full Bible” as opposed to the 66 books that were more acceptable to Martin Luther. I no longer buy Bibles that only contain 66 books, as I have no use for incomplete Bibles, with the exception of Bibles like the Word on Fire Bible because it’s a full Bible with different volumes because it’s so extensive.

When I was younger, as I said in the first post, I read through the King Jimmy many times before I turned fifteen. We were encouraged to do “personal devotions” (which let’s face it, are a good idea, but not in the way they had us do it), which was, if you were more spiritual than I, also called “God and I” time. Pastors would ask us youth to raise our hands if we did our “God and I” time every day. I think we all lied, because we didn’t want to be called out, and besides, anyone who didn’t do it every day probably needed to come up front after the service and “get saved,” because if you were saved you’d be doing your “God and I” time.

All of this to say that when the idea of lectio divina (divine reading) was introduced to me, that was a hard pass. But I’ve learned this year already that it’s nothing like I was assuming, that perhaps until now I’d never heard a good enough explanation of it, or heard a good explanation but didn’t understand it. Anyway, I’ve been practicing lectio divina a few months now, and it’s great.

At first I thought that I had to focus on just a small passage of Scripture, and that wasn’t working for me, but I found when I started reading the Gospels at the beginning of the year that a chapter at a time is still lectio divina because I’m reading, and listening, and pausing, and praying, and letting it soak in and change my life. That, friends (and enemies), is the point of lectio divina. There isn’t really a wrong way to do it if you are seeking God.

So now I open my Bible excitedly, ready to let God speak and let it infiltrate into my very being. I’m learning to love the Bible.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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