Reading The Bible

Cunningham Family Bible

Cover of the Cunningham Bible

Cunningham Family Bible

Binding with ribbons

Thomas studied the fields. He read them as he had for over 35 years. Each season came on the heel of the one before it, waiting its turn. Harvest was at the horizon, and in a few weeks, each broomcorn head would need to be pulled. His hands rough yet careful, his knife’s blade would scrape down each corn stalk to save the seeds for the next year. He watched his wife through the window turn through the pages of the Bible. It was a massive book; it was the best his money could buy. Golden pictures of angels and disciples filled the pages. She turned another page.

The Cunningham family Bible is an impressive volume for a family of farmers. It features 2,248 pages, well intact with a red and a black ribbon bookmark. With a length of 12.5 inches and a width of 10.5 inches, the Bible is just large enough to conceal a piece of letter paper. The family Bible cover consists of leather and gold foil imprints. The added support from a restoration effort of the Koerperich Bookbindery in Selden, Kansas, may have added a centimeter to the edges of the worn leather cover. The cover features the faded ornate lettering “Holy Bible” above a golden imprint of the Roman Empire. The Bible’s width remains at its original 4.25 inches. Thicker than three volumes of the Norton Anthology of American Literature, the edges of the brown pages are marked with dark stains. The binding announces rich, multilayered contents: “The Parallel Bible,” “Bible Dictionary” and “Cities of the Bible.” Inside, a reprint of the 1611 King James Version (KJV), or the “Authorized” version, is paired with the 1881 “revised” version, known today as the English Revised Version (ERV). This parallel edition provided the eloquence of the past with the ease of contemporary language.

Reading The Bible