Steve@lovepackages.org 217-532-6701 (Illinois) 256-355-3004 (Alabama)
How to Properly Dispose of Old Bibles
March 30, 2019
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Pastors and ministry leaders get this question a lot, “What is the proper/correct way to dispose of an old bible?”

It’s not something you really think about until you find yourself with an old, worn bible in one hand and a shiny new one in the other. Or until you inherit a small library and find an old family bible on a shelf. But it’s a good question.

 

There is Not a Single, Proper Method for Disposing of Old Bibles

It seems like an event that should have some assigned rule or ritual—like disposing of a tattered flag—but it doesn’t. There is no one, ultimately “correct,” way to dispose of an old bible.

On the one hand, as Christians, we respect the word of God in its printed form and we treat our bibles lovingly for what they contain. But while we love and cherish the word of God, we don’t worship the paper it is printed on or the leather than holds it together. (It is not “bad luck” to recycle an old, worn out bible.)

So the answer to, “How should I dispose of an old bible?” or, “What should I do with an extra bible?” is really whatever you deem most respectful.

 

What is the most respectful way to off-load an old or extra bible? Send it to us.

  bin of donated bibles

 

As you read this, there are countless people all over the world who are praying for a bible of their own, because prayer is the only way they’ll ever get one. What could be more respectful of the word of God than to share it with someone who desperately needs it?

 

From Zimbabwe:

Martin has returned from distributing Bibles to pastors who in turn gave to their evangelism pastors, who then went to bless hospitals, prisons, and schools.

One outstanding testimony was of a young lady named Sera who wanted to burn herself up because she lost her mother and father who passed away in a motor car accident 3 months ago. Then on top of that, her husband walked out on her and left her with 4 children. It was like the gates of hell pounced on her.

The amazing thing is the Bibles that Martin took was at the right time to save this mother of four. They ministered to her and read the Story of Job. She had never heard of it in her entire life. When she heard it, she broke down and wept and wept and then gave her life to JESUS and was a brand new soul and mother.

 

Options for Disposing of Old Bibles

Let’s look at other popular options:

  • Rebind it — If the cover is damaged or a section has come loose from the binding, you can always have it restored. Our culture tends to throw away and replace things that get damaged, but your bible deserves better. If it can be restored, this is a good option.
    .
  • Bury it — Many Jewish communities bury damaged, sacred texts as a sign of respect. Some Christians have adopted the practice, however, while it’s easy to see and respect the intention, we don’t recommend it.
    .
    We have received countless testimonies over the past 40+ years of lives changed and people, families, and village saved because of one gospel track or one small devotional. How much more can God do with even a damaged bible? Burying it in the ground is, to us, a sad denial to the Church around the world who would gladly dig it up with their own hands if they could.
    .
  • Recycle it — It is, after all, paper. Similar to the above, though, we don’t recommend it, as it casually dismisses the potential of even a piece of God’s word.
    .
  • Donate it — We’ve seen more old, damaged bibles than most people and we can still say this is the best option!
  Listen to our founder, Steve Schmidt, share a testimony from India about just how far our brothers and sisters around the world are willing to go for a bible:    
   

Common Objections to Donating Old Bibles

There are some common circumstances, questions, and objections that arise when we talk about donating old, worn bibles.

 

1. But my old bible is in English.

We’ve been sending old, donated English bibles to the mission field for more than 40 years and not once has a distributor or missions partner said, “I really can’t use these because they’re in English.”

Many nations and communities around the world—like Nigeria and Ghana—have taught English in their schools for years, and one quarter of India’s 1.4 billion people speak and read English. Most of our distributors continuously ask for more.

 

From India:

With your prayerfully support, we have been able to help Pastors and missionaries with bibles and other books and the works of evangelism were expanded and the glorious message of Gods saving power had reached many regions of this part of the world, but still there are millions souls around us who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and His saving power. Our friends from the missions fields and pastors from many different churches were written me and asking me to help them as usual.

 

2. What about my old bible that’s falling apart or badly damaged?

First, “badly damaged” to most westerners is not “badly damaged” to people who routinely have to bury their Christian literature in the ground to prevent its being discovered by authorities. Or to people who carry their bibles through jungles and over mountain ranges to share the gospel with people.

But even if it is—even if pages are falling out and half of Revelation is missing—it is still more of the word of God than most people in the world will ever hold in their hands.

It sometimes feels almost rude or discourteous to donate a very damaged bible, but if you could ask our brothers and sisters in Africa and Asia whether they would prefer 95% of a bible or no bible at all … they would kiss your hands for giving them 95% of a bible.

If it still bothers you to donate a torn up bible, we invite you to buy a few new ones and send them with your old one. 😉

We do very occasionally get a donated bible that is falling to pieces because the binding is completely blown out, and those we (lovingly and respectfully) recycle. So really, it doesn’t hurt to send us your old bible, no matter how damaged, and let us decide if it can be used.

 

How to Donate Your Old, Worn Bibles

There are several ways to get your old bibles to us. You can mail them or drop them off at either of our locations—in Illinois or Alabama:

 

220 Union St – Butler, IL  62015

60D South Mountain Dr – Decatur, AL  35603

 

You can also drop-off bible (and other Christian literature) donations at any of our partner locations near you:

 

 

 

While you’re at it, you might consider collecting a few more things to bring with you. We have all the resources you need to run a bible drive with your local church or ministry!

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26 comments

  1. Avatar

    Are you still accepting old worn out falling apart bibles? Just want to make sure before I spend the money on postage. Let me know.

    1. LovePackages

      Yes we are! We look at every book that comes through, so if it’s usable, we’ll send it on.

  2. Avatar

    Do you take other Christian literature?

    1. LovePackages

      We take any and all Christian literature! For details on what we can and cannot use, see our Needed Materials page – https://lovepackages.org/needed-materials/

  3. Avatar

    Please email me. I have a couple of questions. When I tried to post itvI kept getting a response saying that I had duplicated the post in which hadn’t.

  4. Avatar

    I live in Ontario, Canada. Do you know if there’s any issue with sending old Bibles and literature across the border?

    1. LovePackages

      Not that we’re aware of. You can fill out customs forms online in advance – https://www.canadapost.ca/cpotools/apps/cdc?execution=e1s1

  5. Avatar

    Do you have a way to remove imprinted names on leather bible covers?

    1. LovePackages

      We do not, but we send lots of bibles with random, imprinted names to the mission field!

  6. Avatar

    Can you use KJV Bibles?

    1. Avatar

      Hmmm, it would appear from your FAQ page that you can recycle ANY translation. Yay!

      1. LovePackages

        Yes, ma’am! Send us all the bibles!

  7. Avatar

    I have a twist on this subject. In 1995 I was given a cassette tape collection of the OT and NT. We are now downsizing, the tapes are undoubtedly brittle, but is seems unseemly to toss it in the trash. Or is it?

    1. LovePackages

      Thanks for asking, Ed! Unfortunately, we don’t have much use for tapes of any kind anymore. You could always pray over them and give them to a resale store. We’ve seen God do amazing things to get material into the right hands. No reason He can’t do it here too!

  8. Avatar

    What if it was used for hoodoo?

    1. Avatar

      Like if someone practiced hoodoo with their Bible a couple of times and then rededicated themselves to God, what should they with the Bible? Can they keep it?

    2. LovePackages

      That person can keep his bible. The word of God is more powerful than any voodoo. That bible is fine.

  9. Avatar

    I live in Nigeria and I have about torn apart Bible and other Christian literature. I want to dispose them but don’t know how. Reason I browsed how.

  10. Avatar

    What is the nearest drop off center to me I live in Lexington KY?

    1. Avatar

      On our website, click on contact us and you can see a map of our collectors. Thank you

  11. Avatar

    I have two bibles in pretty good shape. My name is on the outside. I would be happy to donate them. Who do I send them to?

    1. Avatar

      We have two locations. Illinois address is 220 Union St, Butler, IL 62015. Alabama is 60 South Mountain Dr, Decatur, AL 35603

  12. Avatar

    I have an old bible of my aunt’s. She does have a few family members listed with birthdays, marriages. Is it okay just to leave information in there or should I tear out pages (I hate to) or use whiteout? Thank you for all you do.

  13. Avatar

    I have a Bible that has missing pages in the NT, pg 115-242, John-2 John. Still want it? If so, what address to I send it to? I’m staying in FL right now. If you don’t know want it, what do I do with it? Thanks. M-

  14. Avatar

    I read your options but wish you to see if possible to have this mission in Pakistan