Imagine. A husband of many years opens a small velvet-covered box and shows his wife a beautiful ring. Delicate white gold inlayed with the purest of diamonds placed perfectly. His wife is of course genuinely excited especially when her husband says, “This is for you my love.”
As she admires the ring he says, “It’s a special ring. It belonged to my grandmother. She had Jewish heritage and she sufferred terribly at the hands of the Nazis in northern France in the war. Her fiancee, her first love, who was killed in action before they could marry, had it handcrafted for her.”
This story made the ring seem even more special to his wife.
And so she wore the ring everyday. It was truly beautiful. It brought her both joy and solace. When worried, she often touched it and moved it around her finger, and found it comforting.
There were occasions though when it felt to her a little loose. When she ran or danced or did anything above the gentlest activity it shifted its position just a little and gave her moments of concern. She worried that she might lose it or perhaps that she ought not to wear it quite so much.
It was at these moments she remembered that although the ring was hers (her husband made this very clear) it was not first given to her. The woman it was given to obviously had larger fingers – as well as a fascinating story of love & loss. Her husband’s grandmother was intimate with the giver of the ring and closer to the Crafter of it than her. And so, she decided that to truly appreciate the ring and even celebrate the looseness of it on her finger, she must discover more about the original owner and her story. Only then, she realised, will the ring’s glory become fully revealed.
And so it is with the Bible. Each of its books a gift for us. But although I am one of the billions of people scripture was written for, I am not one of the far fewer people it was written to.
To truly cherish it, unlock its value and celebrate the occasional puzzling looseness of it, I really ought to discover the story of those who first received it and who for the first time read those precious 66 books.