I have been reading books for about 50 years. The next few posts review the most influential books in my life. This list has shifted over time as I have added new readings. I will spend more time on my top 20 and then just giver shorter reviews or lists after that.
Today is my Number 1: the Bible.
While I had small bibles as a child, my mom bought me a “real” bible in the mid- 1970s. It was a genuine leather KJV Thomas Chain Reference bible. As you see from the picture, it was hefty. It had the greatest notes, concordance, listings, and maps. I think it was given me sometime around 6th grade as that was my turning point when I started to really have questions and want to know stuff. Mr. Yoshikawa, my amazing public school 6th grade teacher, had sparked my interest to study things FOR MYSELF. I started being interested in “right and wrong” and felt I had to study to figure things out. Since church was the place I had been going all along, it made since that it had the “stuff” (the documents and ideas) that could help me. So I started to read on my own.
I think the sermon on the mount was my first major highlighting and reading section. At least, it seemed like that was it, because by 8th grade public school graduation that was the passage I spoke on (our small public school allowed anyone to say something. Little did they or my family or even I realize I would speak about Matthew 5!).
The Sermon was my AHA understanding where I realized how “otherwordly” the values of the bible really were. It pulled me in to reading more and more. By 16, Isaiah became my go to book. That is where I felt my first call when reading Is 43:10-12. I felt called to be a witness and servant.
The bible took me to another world and presented an anxient history that fascinated me.
While my mom read to us boys all the time, this was when I started to read for myself. And read I did.
Sometime in high school I would start reading it more than all my homework combined (this was often because I didn’t do a lot of homework well). While I had been a devoted basketball player and spent hours a day practicing in Jr. High and the first part of High school, by my junior year, bible related reading displaced much of my deep devotion to basketball.
I would tape poems I liked inside the front and back covers. I especially loved the rhythm and rhymes of Helen Steiner Rice’s poems. They are still in my bible.
I still believe this is the best single book of all time. I believe everyone should read it.
After the KJV, I started reading more of the Amplified Bible as its multiple word choices gave me more meaning. Then I used an NIV or NKJV. Now I use the NASB with some “free” reading in the The Message bible.
And the internet has made www.biblegateway.com my daily destination for finding material to use in my writing.
Thanks mom for getting me into reading and thanks for this KJV bible.
“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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17, KJV).
God, thank you for inspiring other writers to write down what they were learning from you and about the world. Thank you for preserving this through time and wars and persecutions. May your WORD continue for ever in this world and in my heart!