When I was in seminary, a local pastor (Dr. Robert Rayburn) came and shared with us the discipline of annotating our Bibles. He brought his old Bible which for years he had been filling with notes. He’d had it re-covered at least once and it looked like a Bible that was used and cherished. As he flipped through its pages, he’d stop and share with us a great quote. Then he’d turn a few more pages and read to us some wonderful exegetical insight that really opened up a passage. Some of richest moments were those in which he took us through a few choice psalms beside which he had written dates of prayer, dates he’d prayed that psalm for some brother or sister or family member. As I listened, I was captivated by the discipline of connecting my Bible so closely with my life and what I was studying. I admired this mature brother who was carrying around this treasure- a Bible study library and personal history in the palm of his hand. From that day, I decided I too would make annotating my Bible a personal discipline I’d pursue.
I now have my own re-covered Bible filled with notes I’ve gleaned from my reading and study over the years. It has psalms marked with dates and names in the margin next to them. The processes of finding a text to correspond with a quote (of thinking as I read “how does this connect with my Bible?”) has been a wonderful discipline.
Now I’ve decided to connect my Bible with my blog. Today I’m beginning a series of posts (with no specific point of termination) in which I’ll share some of the notes from the margin of my Bible. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the quotes and insights that have moved me over the years and seeing where I ended up connecting them with the Scriptures. If you have the same practice of annotating your Bible, I’d love for this to become a two-way conversation with us being able to show each other the nuggets in our margins.
So, for my first “From the Margin of…” post, I thought I’d share one of my favorite John Piper quotes. I put this quote in the margin of the last page of John’s Gospel (at the end of John 21). There were so many places in the Gospel itself that I thought about writing the quote, but I just couldn’t choose one. Piper’s words are a wonderful reminder I stop to ponder each time I finish reading through the great Apostle’s rich work. This description of regeneration reminds me of God’s overwhelming grace in my life and fuels my love for the unsaved I meet- may they too experience the glorious dawn of salvation!
Piper describing regeneration: “It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First, the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then a shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul’s end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever.”