The other day, I reconnected with an old friend. We haven’t seen each other for about 10 years. But like any good friendship, when we reconnected it was like no time had passed.
Ok. I’m kind of misleading you in that my “old friend” isn’t a person. It’s my preaching Bible. It’s the Bible I used especially when I delivered my sermons. I loved this Bible because the text was in a one-column format and didn’t contain any study notes that would clutter or distract me when I was reading Scripture during a sermon.
When I pulled my preaching Bible off the shelf and opened it up, I was thrilled to find my last two sermons tucked into the cover. That’s when the memories flooded back.
I loved telling stories, showing videos, and using object lessons in my sermons. One of my fondest “preaching” memories is when I brought Michael up during a sermon to help with an object lesson. It took only a couple of moments, but has remained one of those cherished memories for both of us.
When I prepared for a sermon, I would always use a digital Bible. I would then type up my sermon outline with Scripture references. But the final and most critical phase of my workflow was to allow a “simmer time.” This was when I would pray, reflect and let the Scriptures and main points “seep deep” into me. I would read the Scriptures in my preaching Bible during this essential phase.
You see a sermon wasn’t authentic to me if it wasn’t a part of me. I never wanted a sermon to simply be a speech or a study. It was a time when the family of God gathered to hear and obey God’s Word. So I believed it was my greatest responsibility to give a part of myself as the messenger. I was always exhausted and drained when I was done preaching.
Having found my preaching Bible, I’ve been enjoying times of reading Scripture from the page rather than the screen. I love and rely on my digital resources. But there’s something special about unplugging and reading Scripture from a book.
I’ve heard that we read differently from paper than from a screen. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it feels true. Reading Scripture from a book seems simultaneously more leisurely and less distracting. I feel more focused and can stop to reflect without sensing my mind being pulled in different directions.
I remember another object lesson I used in a sermon. I wrote out some Scripture on a transparency. I then held it up before me to demonstrate that as we read Scripture, it should pull our focus through the text and onto the One standing behind the text.
That’s what I feel has happened since finding my preaching Bible. Reading Scripture from a book actually seems more intimate and relational. Reconnecting with my “old friend” seems to have added a missing dimension of intimacy with my True Friend.