The R.L.Allan Experience
I’ve owned a lot of Bibles. A LOT of Bibles. In high school,I found the Bible section in one of those ancient locations called a Christian book store. I don’t really know how I knew that I should purchase leather editions(mostly bonded leather at the time because I didn’t have a huge budget to work with as a high school student!),but I did. I still own many of those Bibles today. And they have aged nicely. But if I was starting all over again from scratch, I would start with an Allan/Allan-Oxford Bible. If my whole library of Bibles had to be consolidated to for 3 or 4 Bibles, I would pick my Allan/Allan-Oxford BIbles with no question or thought.
Today I opened up my first Longprimer. It took me two different locations( a coffee shop and a bookstore) and several hours to open it. Not because of the way it was packaged but because I wanted to savor every moment.The experience was without rival or compare. I can’t even compare it to the experience of opening up my Ruby edition or my Brevier Clarendon Wide Margin (calfsplit). The first thing that hit me was the amazing smell of the leather. It makes me wonder how so many other products could call themselves “genuine leather” without that scent coming from them. I didn’t have to work to notice the smell. It filled my space like a perfume.
After that my eyes were treated to a great experience. I had to take a closer look at what was producing such a wonderful smell.I had looked at tons of pictures but none of them did credit to the Longprimer when it’s held inches away from the eyes. The color was rich and yet “humble”. It demanded a second look but it also gave me the feeling that it would fit in many atmospheres and occasion. From the most sanctimonious cathedral to the ragged back seat of a farmer’s pick-up truck, this BIble would fit. And that is one of the things I really like about it.
This Bible is classic. When I look at it, I feel connected to the history of BIble publishing and the thousands who have been transformed by the Scriptures found in an Allan Bible. There are a lot of options when it comes to Bibles. Probably more now than ever. There will be children who probably think the Bible can only exist on the same advice that enables them to play Angry Birds! As long as the Word of God is being spread and lived, I can’t complain too much. But I will say that we live in a world where it is normal for people to wait in long lines to buy a device that comes nicely packaged and cost hundreds of dollars,but holds no inherent eternal value.If anything, it can be a constant source of distraction and competition for some of the most important things in life. But I don’t know of many ways a quality Bible from R.L.Allan (that comes in a simple,but elegant blue box) can be a distraction! I venture to say that more people need to be “distracted” by the experience of reading God’s word in an edition of the Bible that connects with all the senses. A Bible that connects us with centuries of quality,durability, style,design, functionality and the clear purpose of preserving the Scriptures.
I fear I might only have this experience of opening a new Allan Bible a few more time( unless I branch out and start collecting some other translations other than KJV and ESV,or unless Allan comes up with some more amazing settings and styles!). If the next 2 or 3 Bibles I get from Glasgow are the last ones, I will find a way to be content. I will wait for the day when I can order my son his first Allan Bible. He’ll probably be waiting to get one of the ones I already have;maybe the very Longprimer that I opened today. It will be worn from years of use at by then,but it will have lost none of its charm or strength. I want him to know the difference between my Bibles and all my other books. And I want him to know the difference between my other Bibles and my R.L.Allan Bibles! There is a vast difference and it is one that makes them worth every penny. It’s worth the price when you hold a book that even my two year old son knows talks about Jesus, and you feel like the presentation matches what is contained on the pages. It’s like when Solomon wanted to build a temple for God because he wasn’t comfortable with the fact that God dwelled in a tent. Solomon wanted to build a house for God that was ornate and aesthetically superior,not for the temple to get glory but for the glory of God to be able to dwell in a place that was truly beautiful,were nothing was spared for the Creator. Allan Bibles are kind of like a “temple” that holds the words of God. It takes those blessed words out of the “tents” of cheap,inferior,thoughtless,mechanically produced binding and puts it in something much better. Beyond that, they help me build up my soul,spirit and body,which is the temple that the Spirit of God resides in.