MY GRANDMOTHER’S OLD KING JAMES BIBLE
by James Snyder
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It has been a quiet week in the parsonage, notwithstanding the dismal, unflorida weather we have been having. Actually, the weather, or lack of good weather, gave me a chance to go through some boxes of books I have been putting off for several years.
For months, I have been telling the gracious Mistress of the parsonage that I am going to get to those boxes. Fortunately, for me, many things prohibited me from following through on that promise.
Last Thursday, my wife looked at me and said, “About those boxes in the garage.”
It wasn’t exactly what she said as HOW she said it. She said it in such a way as to leave me believing that if I did not address those boxes she would. And I know the exact address she would put on those boxes and it was not my current residence.
As a dutiful husband, I ventured into the garage with a task in mind – going through those boxes of books.
When I opened the second box, I discovered, about half way down, an old Bible. It was my grandmother’s old King James Bible. I chuckled as I could almost hear her emphasize that she used the “good ole King James Bible.”
“If the King James Bible was good ‘nough for the Apostle Paul,” she often said to me, “I guess it’s good ‘nough for me.” She always said it with a smile and I never knew if she was kidding or if she really believed the Apostle Paul actually used the King James Bible.
As I slowly and reverently leafed through her old Bible, memories of my grandmother and her simple faith came rushing back to me. I noticed many verses were neatly underlined.
Verses like, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13 KJV). And, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 KJV).
If I close my eyes, I can see my grandmother’s face, as she would quote these verses. She quoted them as if she really believed them and her life proved she indeed did.
Out of curiosity, I turned to the twenty-third Psalm and, sure enough, as I suspected, it was all underlined. It was her favorite Psalm and her minister quoted it at her funeral.
My grandmother was a simple, farmwoman who put great stock in her Bible. I suppose some of it rubbed off on me. Just reading her old Bible was a comforting experience and brought me into contact with my grandmother’s faith. It must be a terrible thing NOT to have faith, and yet many people do.
I once asked my grandmother if she believed everything she read in her Bible. Of course, I knew the answer before I asked it but I wanted to hear her reply.
Without batting an eye, she looked at me and said that she believed the Bible from cover to cover.
“Well, grandma,” I ventured, “Do you understand everything you read in your Bible?”
With that grandma laughed one of those laughs that are so disarming. I could not help but smile myself. When she told me that she did not understand everything I wanted to know what she did about it.
“Well,” she said as she rubbed her chin, “I’ve always believed everything in the Good Book.” She paused for a moment and I could see she was thinking. “I guess,” she continued, “that I accept everything I understand and let the rest with the Good Lord. After all, if I understood it all I’d be God myself.”
That one statement has kept me from worrying over parts of the Bible I didn’t quite understand. I just leave it “with the Good Lord.”
In further examination of my grandmother’s Bible, I noticed some writing on the flyleaf. Much of it was definitions of words she did not quite understand. Being just a country farmwoman and attending a simple country church, she did not have opportunity to run across many of those big words.
One word on her flyleaf was “fundamentalist.” The little country church she attended would never have opportunity to use such big words. She had no idea what a “fundamentalist” was. It could be a false cult, a foreign religion or even some psychological disorder for all she knew.
I thought her definition was right on. “A fundamentalist,” she wrote, “is someone who believes exactly like I do.” That sure puts it in perspective and I’ve been around enough “fundamentalists” to know that the definition fits.
There was one summer when her little country church was without a pastor and so a student from a seminary spent the summer as a student pastor. Everyone loved him, particularly my grandmother. I never heard her say a negative thing about any preacher. She loved them all.
This one was a little different. He began his summer ministry by teaching on the book of Hebrews. As everyone who knows anything about the Bible, the author of the book of Hebrews is not stated. There are many different views and ideas on this subject.
The summer student-pastor spent the first session exploring, in great depth, the idea that nobody knows who wrote the book of Hebrews. Evidently, nobody knew EXCEPT my grandmother.
About half way through his explaining the anonymous nature of the authorship, and giving some idea as to who might have written the book, my grandmother rose to speak.
“I don’t know,” she began, “what kind of Bible you have nor what they teach you young fellers in seminary, but my good Ole King James Bible says, ‘the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews,’ and I believe e’ry word in this book.” With that, she sat down to the thunderous applause of her friends.
My grandmother truly believed, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV).
I will always cherish my grandmother’s old King James Bible and make it mine as well.
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James, This is a very nice tribute to your Grandmother. And in my opinion.... the King James Bible is the ONLY Bible. There are so many new "so called" bibles out there which are deceiving so many people. and teaching false information, therefore giving them a false sense of security . Those Bibles often omit the true words of Christ and add in their own words in it's place. Man's words cannot save him, Only God can, and he laid out the instructions of His salvation plan very clearly....Acts 2:38 Your Grandmother was right on the mark, when she said that God wrote the entire bible. Several writers, scripted the words, but God wrote the laws!!! Bessie
James, thank you for sharing some cherished memories of your grandmother.