The gift of a family Bible keeps history

Grandmother Cathey kept the Family Bible on a table in her parlor, but it was too big to read.

Yes, it was big and sure looked old. So, she would read to us from the small Bible on the table by her bed. 

Of course, when she finished, she had each of us join her on our knees beside the bed where we would thank God for the beautiful day and ask Him to take care of everyone and to keep us through the night. Then she tucked us into that ol’ feather bed and bid us “Good night.” 

Her Family Bible did not pass down to our branch of the family, and I don’t know if it had the family history written on its genealogy page, but I have a hope that wherever it may be, it is bringing joy to someone. Now, Papa and Mama Hop did not have a big Family Bible, but there were Bibles throughout the house and since Mama’s father was a Methodist Minister and Papa’s Dad was a Baptist Preacher, each Bible was important in its own way. I do have one of Papa Hop’s Bibles but the genealogy pages are blank. 

My young bride Stella and I received a big ornate Bible as a wedding present in 1964 and it will contain a limited genealogy that will go back to our Great Grandparents, so hopefully it will help answer questions for future generations. 

I guess you could call it a Family Bible though its main function is merely a depository for a bit of family history. Our true Family Bibles will be our work Bibles that are marked with scripture and notes and will be a bit worn, just as your Bible should be. 

My Ol’ Daddy said, “That so-called Family Bible is probably nothing more than a big, ornate, dust catcher.” 

He would also want you to have a well-used working Bible, believing as I do, that if you are comfortable with your Bible, it will serve you well just like an old friend! I hope that each one of you can be inspired to let your Bible help guide your travels throughout your days.


The Gift in the Family Bible

Our history stays alive when folks jot a note,

That gets passed down thru the age, 

In the Family Bible where you’ll find that quote,

When someone turns to the page.


And there it lay upon that shelf, where Pap took it down,

As the family gathered nearby,

He opened to a verse that spoke about the crown,

Jesus love to magnify. 


It was big and a little raggedy lookin’

But not dusty atall

You see, Pap would balance it on his knee,

And read to one an’ all.



They say it came with Grandma, from across the sea

An’ it rode on wagon’s back,

From Atlantic’s shore, clean out to Tennessee,

An’ read often, now that’s a fact.


From the hills of Tennessee to the Texas plain,

The Family Bible made its way,

Crost dusty trails an’ rivers flooded by rain,

Pilgrims determined to stay.


When they built that cabin, before the winter snow,

The Family Bible was brought in,

An’ put in a place of honor don’t you know,

On a shelf by that old violin.


They shared that place of honor. The violin,

To bring pleasure with music’s charm,

The Bible to give comfort to all kith an’ kin,

Who sought safety from all harm.


An’ at end o’ day, Pap would read the word within,

To help one an’ all understand,

That Jesus died to save us all from worldly sin,

Believe and receive His brand.


Papa Hop said that God gave man free will,

And the good sense to do right,

And yes, the devil is there to give you a spill,

the Bible helps put him in flight.


We couldn’t save ourselves, it is a gift of God,

Nothing that we might think to do,

‘Cuz it’d only make us boast of the trail we trod,

Know that Jesus’ love is true.


When Pap finished reading the Word each day,

He’d smile an’ give God the glory,

Then we’d each bow our head as Pap began to pray, 

Thankful for that Bible story.


Then he would put the Bible back in its place,

An’ with glory, there it lay,

An’ there was peaceful bliss on every face,

 We each had been blessed that day.



But the real blessing for each one is God’s gift,

The Grace of our Lord above,

Our lives are like a stranded ship at sea, just adrift,

Until we accept God’s sweet love.


And the family receives blessings and more,

From that Bible our spirits lift,

Gods true guiding word, our faith to restore,

The Family Bible brings God’s Gift.

©  Ol’ Jim Cathey


John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

God Bless each of you and God Bless America!














The Marlin Democrat

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: (254) 883-2554
Fax:(254) 883-6553