The Bible is the bestselling book in world history, with an estimated 5 billion to 6 billion printed in more than 700 languages. But how many Bibles are actually opened and read, and how many just gather dust on bookshelves, their contents hidden from us?
You can find incredible value in this ancient book — sometimes in very surprising ways, as a bookstore owner I know recently told me.
My new friend Ben ran an online store for used books, but almost nine years ago he decided to close it and open a brick-and-mortar version, selling used books on North Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs.
It’s a small shop called 2 Buck Books, located in a long strip mall, close to a Target and a host of other retailers, including Chuck E Cheese. It’s the kind of bookstore many of us grew up with, before Amazon and other online retailers did to many bookstores what cars did to horse-drawn carriages.
If you were to step into Ben’s shop, you’d see exactly what you’d expect — aisle upon aisle of dusty titles, all neatly organized. Ben knows where everything is and happily shows you around.
“I’m short on novels and classics,” he said. “Business has been brisk ever since the pandemic began.”
The area around Ben’s cash register is cluttered with knick-knacks and tchotchkes of all kinds — superhero figurines, a magnifying glass, to name just a few.
“All of these things come from the boxes of books people bring in — you’d be amazed what you find,” Ben told me. “I even find marijuana leaves — often in college textbooks.”
“Ever find anything really valuable?” I asked him.
“My old colleague, Sandy, once took in a big box of books, most likely from an estate sale. It contained a Bible,” Ben replied.
“A valuable Bible?” I asked.
“Once she opened it up, she realized it was hollowed out — and it contained $2,000.”
Ben said book safes are difficult to make but not all that uncommon. “I think Sandy tried to find out the owner, but never did,” he added.
I’ve been thinking about the person who brought those books to Ben’s store, never realizing that the Bible had $2,000 in cash inside — because he or she never bothered to even crack the cover of the most powerful and most important book ever written. A book that has changed countless lives for the better.
Year in and year out, the Bible remains the world’s bestselling book. It’s estimated that over 100 million are printed each year around the world, and 20 million are sold in the U.S.
Chances are you have one in your house. Or even two or three. How much wisdom and insight is at our fingertips — if we’d only take the time to open it up, read its pages and ponder its eternal truth?
A Bible on a shelf untouched does nothing. An opened Bible that you read can be a priceless treasure that changes your life.
It was Augustine of Hippo who said, “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”
John Wesley, the 18th-century English cleric and evangelist, once said: “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven: how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He has written it down in a book! Oh, give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be: A man of one book.’”
So if you have a Bible in your house, open it up. You might just be surprised what you find inside. And you might never be the same afterward.
Paul J. Batura is a writer and the author of seven books, including, “GOOD DAY! The Paul Harvey Story.” He can be reached on Twitter @PaulBatura or by email at [email protected].