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How did a book change my life? Books, especially good ones, have that kind of power. If you let them they can serve as a compass on a dark and stormy night, providing you with direction or they can lift you up when you are too low to stand for yourself.

Though there are several books that have pointed me towards a direction or taught me a lesson, there is one book that stands apart from all the others. This book has long endured controversy.  People have been killed over protecting it; Russia has even banned my favorite translation. Yet, this is the book I’ve chosen to read daily, for its message is life changing. It has the power to transform one’s life by changing their thinking.

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 I’ve learned it is like clean water, gradually purifying me as I try to apply its principles. I believe that if everyone followed the principles outlined in such a book, (principles such as “if possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men”) cruel and selfish people would be replaced by kind, peaceable ones. I’ve noticed in others as well as myself the unifying effect this book can have as people from varying races, backgrounds, and social levels learn to love one another, live peaceably and work together. This book is the Bible. The Bible was one of the first books I read.

My parents, interested in my education, read it to me as a child and helped me to be able to read it on my own. Its challenging vocabulary helped me to push myself in English. Its background of ancient cultures helped me in History and in being accepting of those that were different than me. The dates and locations mentioned, helped me in Geography and its stories allowed me to exercise my imagination of these real events while learning important life lessons. The Bible has encouraged me to continue learning and improving upon myself. Specifically, the Bible has helped me and continues to help me in at least five different ways.

 Reading the Bible as given me a sense of belonging. The struggles and challenges of the Bible characters, reminds me that I am not alone in my struggles and my dreams are also shared. I’ve grown in empathy by getting to know the characters. It works my ability to connect to others and invest myself in them. Open-mindedness and humility when reading is important as well. Books teach us that we don’t have all the answers.

It reminds me of how much more there is left to explore, know and live. The feeling of just how tiny we are helps my imagination roam. It is a reminder “that we are dust.” The Bible provides confidence, forcing us to re-think so called truths and allowing what we consider to be true to be put to the test. It is by defending the truth that we grow stronger. Lastly, I gain joy when reading. In times of distress, reading the accounts of what others went through and how they were still successful provides me with a sense of calm and inner peace. It’s therapeutic, once I start reading time ceases to exist as my mind becomes completely immersed in what’s in front of me.

I’ve learned to “make sure of the more important things.” As a result, I stop rushing from one point to the next. The worries, fears, and temporary ambitions of a moment ago become secondary. So it’s true, books, especially the Bible, have indeed changed my life.

Without the Bible I would most definitely not be where I am today. The Bible touches on all aspects of life. It’s helped me succeed in school, in being accepting of others, in being kind, loving and peaceable. I have gained a sense of belonging, empathy, humility, joy and hope. It has sparked my curiosity of the world around me and it has in fact, enriched my life.  

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