Think With Me

Debra Celovsky

Notes on the journey

My journey began 

in the late summer of 1992 when I found a shrink-wrapped New International Version One Year Bible among my paternal grandmother’s things after her passing. Frank and Irene were evangelists, church planters, missionaries, lovers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

And they read the King James Version of the Bible diligently.

I have no idea Grandma acquired the OYB, but it was no wonder to me that this (relative) newcomer, with its new-fangled way of reading through the Bible in a year would have held little interest for her. 

But it certainly got my attention. I began reading it in September 1992 and have read it through each year since that time—except for one year I spent in the Book of Job. That was an emotionally trying experience, since I alternated between exasperation (okay, fury) at Job’s “comforters”, horror at Job’s condition, and deep admiration for his battered faith. 

The Conversation

I began a conversation with the OYB, reading with a pencil (my preference), making notes, asking questions. A constant companion has been a 22-volume set of The Pulpit Commentary. Published in the late 19th century, the remarkable scholarship offered by those English theologians continues to enrich my understanding of scripture. Okay, so the many references in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, etc. are not helpful, but the rest is a fascinating bounty of knowledge. 

After the initial OYB was worn out, I parted daily ways with the NIV, and chose the New King James Version. This meant taking a year to move all my notes and underlinings from the NIV to the new Bible. I was touched when my daughter, Jessica, asked for that original red volume found among her grandmother’s things so long ago.

One day my daughter-in-law, Dana, said, “Mom, when you’re ready to replace that Bible, can I have it?” I think it dawned on me in that moment that something valuable was being established. The reading, study, and conversation with this Book that had taken such root in my life was also a gift of legacy. If you ever think of leaving me anything, leave me your Book. 

After taking another year to move my notes to the new one, I gave it to her. She received it, I will never forget, with tears in her eyes. Some years later, after the same process, I passed on another OYB to my  daughter-in-law, Jennifer. 

In addition to the reading and supplementing from the commentaries, I’ve kept notebooks to process what I’m reading. They are part of my broader conversation with God’s Word. And they are also a source for my blog posts, magazine articles, and devotionals.

Sitting each morning at my desk, picking up a pencil, and opening that Book has become an intrinsic part of my daily life. Yes, there have been times when I fell behind: travel, illness, a consuming crisis. But, I always return to it, take a week or two to catch up, and resume the morning pleasure of its pages.

Think With Me

In 2012 I began blogging and have built up an archive of posts on a broad range of topics. For the past few years, my specific focus has been family legacy. Our family has been particularly blessed with generational faithfulness, and with hearts to serve in God’s kingdom. All of my posts remain available via the “Categories” link.

Now, I want to share my experiences in the OYB, my journey year by year in its pages and how it has molded my mind toward the things of God. That is the focus here: to encourage you to Think With Me on this journey of spiritual delight through the Word.

I hope you’ll find my perspective interesting: character sketches, scenes I find particularly moving, places of raw emotion, or deep conviction. There is humor sometimes, too, as we consider the very human way that human beings function.

If you haven’t already, please consider joining my email list. You’ll receive my posts directly into your inbox. I think you will find them helpful on your own journey.

Thank you for joining me here.

We either grow or die, the choice is up to us.