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7/22/97 ‘Spotlight on the Bible:’ all languages, sizes, ages

TALLADEGA, Ala. (BP)–The wheels on the hand truck squeaked as the Bible was unloaded, volume by volume, until all 17 books of the set had found their resting place beneath the lights on a covered table. Written in braille, it was brought to the church this day by Berna Specht, a member of First Baptist Church, Talladega, Ala., for more than 40 years.
“Everyone was so amazed at the space it took up,” Specht said of her prize-winning entry into “Spotlight on the Bible,” an event the church held to create a greater interest in the Word of God.
Members were asked to bring any Bible they would like to share with their church family — the more unusual the better. With her 17-volume set being the largest on display, Specht took home the “Encyclopedia of Biblical Plants,” a prize she said she has thoroughly enjoyed so far.
While the recognition of these possessions was nice, pastor Curtis Kelley wanted to make sure the event’s focus remained on God’s Word contained within the various covers.
“Our whole purpose for this was to instill in people a greater love for the Word of God, which creates a greater love for God and a deeper commitment to study the Word,” Kelley said.
Kelley also said the 50 or 60 Bibles on display sparked a great deal of interest among onlookers and those who participated, with their vast differences in language, age, size and shape.
Compared with Specht’s Bible, Ashley Hopewell’s Chinese New Testament, measuring about two inches by three inches, looked like a matchbook. The diminutive Word was an heirloom of a missionary aunt.
The oldest Bible belonged to the Guy Kaylor family and was printed in 1817.
Not much younger was a Bible displayed by Walter Rogers, minister of music and adult education at the church. His delicate text, which he keeps contained in a plastic bag to protect it from the elements, dates back to the 1820s and was confiscated by a Union soldier from a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. Amidst the tragedy of the war this Bible — which is only missing its back cover — emerged practically unscathed to be passed down to future generations.
“The books which hold God’s words may get old and decay, but the actual message of Christ will last forever,” Rogers said.
Along with the display of the many different and unusual Bibles, the church brought in two guest speakers, Will Temple of Wycliffe Bible Translators and Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.
In a general assembly of all adults during the mid-May Sunday School hour, Temple gave what Kelley called a “spellbinding” presentation of the work of translators. George was the featured speaker for the morning worship. George stressed the importance of daily study of the Bible, which he said “reshapes us from the inside out.”

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  • Jason Skinner