The Pocket New Testament

In my first year of secondary school the Gideons visited and gave to each first year student a little red book containing the New Testament and Psalms. In the front of the book (page 22 in my copy) the Gideons ask for one thing in exchange for the little red volume - read it daily - and I did in the first year. Each day I carried it in my shirt pocket and read it on the bus to school. After a year or so my little New Testament ended up on the bookshelf1.

During my first year at university (Electronic Engineering) I began regularly reading Scripture again; this time the whole Bible, following a Bible-in-a-year plan with two sets of daily readings. This eventually petered out whilst I was still at university. But the third time the habit stuck - I read through the entire Bible, cover to cover, in 90 days, and since then I have continued to read it daily (not cover to cover in 90 days, though!).

Often when I am out I have a briefcase or bag with me. When this is the case I carry a copy of the whole Bible with me, keeping it in my bag. I do not have a bag with me at all times (e.g. when I am out walking). On these occasions, still wishing to have the Scriptures with me, I carry a pocket New Testament2.

The physical presence of a little New Testament in the pocket acts as a reminder to read Scripture. And, since it is there in the pocket, it provides quick and easy access to the Scriptures. Yes, the whole Bible can just as easily be carried as an app on a smartphone. But a pocket New Testament is not going to notify you of a new email; it allows for fewer distractions than a smartphone.

In a time where many people pull out a smartphone at any chance they can to go through emails, messages, 'social' media, play a game. It [makes a nice change [of pace]] to instead pull out Holy Scripture and read the Gospels or Epistles, pray the psalms, or soak in the wisdom of Proverbs...

1 I still own my original Gideons New Testament. I marked certain passages with small sticky notes as I read it; now those flags serve as an interesting (to me at least) peek into my faith as a young teenager.
2 Currently I carry an ESV 'vest pocket' edition of the New Testament, which includes the Psalms and Proverbs, published by Crossway.

Written April 2021, Revised January 2022