The Best Way to Dispose of Old Bibles

As the Bible is one of the holiest tools of Christianity, the proper disposal of the book is of much concern to some people of faith. The method of disposal differs depending on whether the Bible is still usable.

Some congregations have restrictions on which methods are considered acceptable, so it's a good idea to check with your clergy before disposing of a Bible.

Damaged or Unusable Bibles

If the Bible is no longer usable, there are two options for disposal. The first is to simply recycle the Bible as you would any other book. Contact your local recycling centre to find out the proper way to prepare a book for recycling, or if you should drop off the Bible at a collection centre from which the staff will perform the rest of the recycling process.

The other option is to perform a burial ceremony. This is especially common if the Bible being buried had a special significance to the family, such as being a family heirloom or presented during a baptism or wedding ceremony. Contact your church to find out if they perform these ceremonies, or see the resources below for a sample service to perform.

Bibles Still in Good Condition

Some Bibles are still in fine condition but are no longer used due to the acquisition of a new Bible or the owner no longer practicing the religion. In the case of usable Bibles, consider donating the book to the church or to a charity that provides Bibles to those who otherwise could not afford or obtain the book. Donations can also be made to local charities or libraries, which can use the books in their collections.

Consider the history behind the specific Bible before disposal. If the Bible once belonged to a deceased family member, see if any relatives would like to keep it for sentimental reasons.

Thoughts on Bible Disposal

There may be a measure of guilt associated with the disposal of the Bible, as those that follow it deem the book to be the word of the Lord. The Christian faith allows the disposal of this book because it views the words within as being of value, not the method in which these words are being delivered:

"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." (1 Peter 1:23)

"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 7:1-3)

For those questioning whether or not to recycle their Bible, Jacquelyn Sapiie, Library Services Supervisor at the American Bible Society, told The Newton Kansan:

"Discarding a Bible is a difficult act for many people. It should be remembered that a Bible is a book. While it can be called the word of God, it is still a book. It may be helpful to think of the ways we discard books. It would be a good thing to make it useful, and one way to do that is to recycle it. Recycling is an honourable act and that is fitting for a book such as a Bible."