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Louis L’Amour, the great Western writer, wrote a short story about a man who liked books. The man acts suspiciously as he examined the books on the shelves of a library. He took down one book and then another until he finally found one. It was a leather-bound copy of Shakespeare’s King Lear. He ran his fingers gently over the cover, then opened the book and sniffed it’s pages. Suddenly, he tucked the treasured book under his coat and bolted out the door.

Someone who was watching all of this transpire ran after the man and after a long chase finally caught him. The man surrendered the book without a struggle. Then he explained. All of his life he had loved books but he could not read. He came to the library anyway because he loved how books smelled and the way they felt in his hands. That is why he had taken the copy of King Lear.

So many people today are exactly like that with their Bibles. They enjoy the feel of the leather-bound cover. They proudly show off the study notes that is scattered throughout. They argue with others about the best and truest version. They love the smell of the pages. Their Bible is a treasured object—something that is looked at but not read. (Adapted from Back to the Bible by Woodrow Kroll)

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