So, we all know about the Bible, being that it is a best-selling book. It is of course a book, but to me it’s not just a book, it’s a living book.
When I was still a child and attending church I would hear people boasting about it. They spoke about how it had changed their lives, how it had spoken to them. However, I was still a child and I understood nothing.
I grew up as a Christian because my family was Christian, you see. As I was still young I didn’t have a say about this choice. But when I grew up I did have a say in my life. What I decided to believe in is my right – and no one can influence my decision. I won’t lie – I did go astray at times, but I never completely forgot the teachings from my parents. I was raised in the ways of the Lord.
Every evening, my mother used to read a verse from the Bible. Every day she made us pray and she taught us to have a relationship with the word of god.
No one taught me that about any other book. In these couple of years of being an adult, I have experienced the Bible as the word of a God who is living. Adulthood is not easy. I have had doubts, questions, fears – but nothing else gave me the assurance of how to live my life. No one knows, and I don’t either.
In those hard times, the Bible has been my refuge. I am assured through the promises that it gives. As much as I have Bible apps on my phone, there is one Bible that my mother used that has become my main support. Because as a family we are Xhosa, the Bible my mother had is written in Xhosa too. While I can read the Bible on my phone, this one – the Xhosa one – is always by my side. Sometimes, I use it for clarity – if I don’t understand the words in English. Because of the way this one is structured, it has always been our favourite Bible at home. Everyone loved the type and we would call it “ibhayibibhile enomlomo obomvu”, which means the Bible that has a red color on the sides.
So, I think it became special to me because my mother gave it to me. And, because it is in our vernacular. Nowadays we no longer attend the church with only people who speak the same language as ours, so sometimes the meaning of the word gets lost in my understanding. In those situations this Bible helps me a lot to understand.
As Nelson Mandela put it: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart.”
This Bible in my language is in my heart and, very importantly, it was given to me by someone who is in my heart. I will protect it like my heart.