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The Traditional Handing Down of the Family Bible

     Every Christmas Eve, my dad would read to the family the account of Christ’s birth in the Gospel of Luke.  Some years, he read out of his old, oversized family Bible in the King James Version.  Even now, I can’t hear or read that familiar text in any other translation because of my childhood memories.  As a kid, I grew up in a home where Bibles were used regularly, not just displayed for show or kept on a shelf collecting dust.  So, it didn’t make much sense to have a big fancy Bible you didn’t use more than once a year.  It’s not something I really appreciated at the time. 

     But, it’s a tradition that has more interest for me now as I think about ways to pass on faith and family values to my daughters. Historically, the Family Bible is passed down through the matriarchal side of the family, given as a gift to the eldest daughter.  (My dad ended up with the Bible because he was an only child.)  It’s not just a way to pass down a tradition of faith; it’s also a family record of births, baptisms and deaths--a family tree bound up together with a Godly heritage.  Could there be anything more meaningful than surrounding your family in the Word of God?

     For many families, this tradition has long fallen by the wayside, no longer practiced or valued.  Family Bibles aren’t always treasured, maintained, and kept in the family any more.  Yet, perhaps this Mother’s Day is an appropriate time to renew this family tradition.  Every year, when we celebrate moms in May, as a family you could turn the pages of names in the family Bible and remember those recorded in days past.  You can take the time that day once a year to update the entries so that the record stays accurate.  It’s a wonderful way to treasure family and pass on stories and family faith from one generation to another.  “One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4, NASB).

For more information, visit the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies.


To keep up with Heather King, visit her blog at http://heathercking.wordpress.com/

Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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