To write in one's personal bible or not has been an issue that I have contemplated on many occasions. I have seriously considered writing notes and underlining important passages- especially considering at how popular it is among many faithful bible readers. As I stare at two of copies of a bible I just won from entering an online facebook contest, I found myself thinking, with a pen in hand, why not write some notes and highlight passages in one of the copies. Considering that I have more than one bible- I figured why not write notes in at least one copy. That is one way to personalize one's own bible and memoralize one's own thoughts. In the end, I have ultimately decided not to write notes and not to highlight passages of my bible. (And I gave away the extra copy). Instead, I prefer to write important verses and passages in a journal or on notecards. Or perhaps I will even stick a small sticky note near an especially important or meaningful verse. And I will stick to my preference of not writing directly in my bible.
Any commentary or thoughts I have about what I read in the bible are written in a journal or typed out on a word document or blog- rather than writing them directly in the bible or on the margins of the pages. The reason I have decided not to write notes in my bible is because in my humility, I understand that my interpretations or my emphasis of certain verses are passages are probably not always inspired by the Holy Spirit. It might also be self serving or biased. So, why would I want my words or emphasis side by side with God's word, for me to see each and every time I opened my bible. Even if I went so far as to claim to have private revelations, or visions from God (neither of which, I claim), no matter how convinced I may be that they were true, it still would not compare to the authenticity or holiness of God's words. I would not put my words, or interpretations on the same level as scripture itself and I would not want to "deface" a copy of the bible with my own words. I would not want to obscure the true meaning of scripture by having it interpreted or elaborated with my words. Therefore, I keep my words and thoughts where they belong- in my mind, or if I feel so inclined, on a seperate sheet of paper where they will not interfere or obscure the actual bible's words. I am not denouncing or judging anyone else's decision to write in his or her own bible. I am just simply expressing my opinion and the reason behind it.
While I do believe the Holy Spirit can inspire anyone to read and understand the full meaning of the bible's message, the words of the bible speak for themselves! I can not add anything to the inspired words, and the best I can do is memorize them as they are written- with nothing more added or taken away. So even if I owned a million copies of the bible, if I take one off the book shelf, and see handwritten comments, I might be tempted to rely on my own comments and highlighted passages, rather than just simply reading and relying on the bible itself. At minimum, my focus would be diverted to my own notes and interpretations rather than on the bible text. If I felt so inclined to interpret the bible or add study notes-then perhaps I should simply just write them out in a seperate document. In fact, I did do this- I wrote a summary or simplified version of the entire New Testament from Acts to Revelation, which is available on this blog!