Highlighter Yellow: What My Father-in-law’s Bible taught me about how to read God’s Word.

I have learned more about loss this week than in any other time in my life. Last week while enjoying NBC’s Thursday night line-up my wife got the call that her Dad, Ron Hines, suddenly passed away. So we did what anyone else would do and rushed home. Unfortunately for us, that included a 10-hour drive from North Carolina to Illinois. Naturally, there were many tears and much pain.

The highlight of this awful week was my wife’s speech at her Dad’s funeral. She dedicated a large section of the speech to findings in his Bible. Ron Hines devoured his Bible. Bright yellow highlighter covered every book, notes thoughtfully written to the side of prominent passages, and many papers of sermon notes. My wife was blessed as she read his notes from this tattered book. Ron read his Bible often, marked it thoroughly, and prayed over what he read.

There is debate on how Christians should treat their bibles. A dear friend of mine (and one of the most godly guys I’ve ever known) from College never wrote in his. He was worried that highlighting too much would defeat the purpose all together. He also thought writing notes would be further self-defeating, “What if you change your mind?” He reasoned. Having a degree in Biblical Studies I have thought about these issues often. How a believer interacts with Scripture is important. Contrary to what some may say, the Bible is unique. However, I must say that seeing my sweet wife look over her fathers marked up Bible gave me a different perspective.

Mark it up. Highlight, underline, and make notes. I am convinced that this not only cultivates a more thoughtful reading of God’s Word, but more than that I am convinced that it is a message to a future generation: The Bible is not meant to merely be read, it is to be devoured. It is the very air a Christian is to breathe. That is what Ron Hines’ Bible says of God’s Word.

I am sure that there will be many who will disagree. You just can’t make yourself take a pen to such a Holy Bible. I hear ya, but let me tell you -My wife wouldn’t trade Ron Hines’ NIV Men’s Devotional Bible for all the money you had to offer. It will testify to her for years that God is good, His Word is true, and that our lives are to be lived for His glory.

Ron was far from a perfect man. He was a sinner. Sometimes obviously so. Thankfully Ron was aware of his sinful nature and found life in a book he marked with yellow highlighter. I can only hope my future children will be lead to love the Bible more by my life and like Ron- my death.