Emma Bailey

After falling in love with scripture in college, Emma’s parents surprised her with the perfect graduation gift--a custom Bible. Emma racked her brain with the perfect cover words and landed on a simple, sweet title. Read to hear how Emma’s adventure with the story of God led her to title her Bible The Big God Story

My parents had always known I wanted my own custom Hosanna Revival Bible. After I graduated from college they surprised me with it as a gift, and I was so excited to finally design my own covers. For me, getting a new Bible after college was really special because in a lot of ways it signified a new time period in my existence and in my faith.

Growing up, I had always read from a purple, Message version of The Bible. It was torn and tattered by the time I graduated high school, but I loved it. In college, I was studying to receive a minor in Biblical studies and we needed to have a different translation of the Bible, so I went to the bookstore and got a softcover ESV. I marked up that Bible so much throughout my time in college, poring over the pages, and once again left finding my Bible tattered. Though I love my tattered Bibles, having a new ESV with space for journaling and a beautiful exterior is really special to me as I launch forward into this new season of adulthood.

I felt a lot of pressure when I was considering what to put on the covers of my custom Bible. I’ve been wanting one for years and now felt like my one shot to have a Bible with a cover that clearly represents my favorite book. This is especially important to me because reading my Bible in public places has created many great conversations with strangers. The Bible has been misunderstood by so many people for so long. Even as someone who has loved and been changed by it for my whole life, I didn’t feel like I had a clear understanding of just how powerful and important this text was until learning more about it at school. I wanted the cover to clearly represent what I believe the book means to me and, really, what I think God means for it to be for the world.

I wanted to have a title that would embrace the purpose and thesis of its’ contents. But what was it? How can you summarize such a big, diverse, old, and largely misunderstood book? As a communication studies major whose training focused on analyzing, deconstructing, and reconstructing messages, asking questions like these were both natural and almost mandatory for me. The first thing that strikes me about the Bible is that it's a story. God could have sent us messages in a million other ways, but he chose a story. That seems important to me. But what kind of story is it? Over and over, I kept landing on the fact that The Bible is a love story. In so many ways it’s a story of God’s crazy love for us and that kind of love should elicit a response of love from us. But still, painting “Our Love Story” on the cover of my Bible just didn’t feel right. I had to keep thinking.

That’s what the Bible is about. It’s a story of the one, true, and big God. It had hit me — “The Big God Story.”

In the end, I realized it was because even though the Bible is useful for us — it’s not ultimately about us. God didn’t make us because he needed us. He never needed us and he never will. He made us because he wanted to. He chose to risk imperfection and pain by creating these puny things called people and invite them to participate in his grandeur. That’s what the Bible is about. It’s a story of the one, true, and big God. It had hit me — “The Big God Story.” My Bible has helped me to continue to put God at the forefront of my life as I am reminded that it is His story--my life is His story.

The Bible gives me tangible hope. Life is hard. Even though I know in my head that God can do incredible things, sometimes it takes me sitting down and specifically reading the wisdom, stories, and encouragement he gives from the Word to make that real for me. Just because reading the Bible is (obviously) good for your faith, doesn’t make it easy. For some people,  getting in the word every day is easy, but I know that for me, honestly — it’s not. Sometimes (who am I kidding, a lot of times) I'm busy, or I’d rather watch TV, or not feel convicted, or do anything other than reading my Bible. But, every time I read His Word — it is always worthwhile. When I feel overwhelmed, I do simple things to engage with Him. Sometimes, I crack open my Bible and just read even one verse and repeat it over and over. Or, I go on the Bible app and listen to it instead of reading. Whatever it takes to make the Word a priority — do it. It’s the only book in the world that was written by a Big God with the purpose of telling you the true story of the one person who matters most in the universe — our Big God.