Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: The Gaither Homecoming Bible

This was supposed to just be a book review. Plain and simple. But I guess it turned into a post with a few memories. I seem to be doing that a lot recently. I'm not sure why. Weird things trigger a waterfall of childhood memories. 

Three short Bible verses as the topic of Sunday's sermon. On comes a wave of memories of memorizing those verses in Awana, followed by memories of adventures with some of my first friends. Pictures in my head of painting nails, playing with dolls, building forts. Remembering how life used to seem frustrating.  So hard to my 8-year-old mind. But yet realizing, looking back, how perfect things really were. Wishing, really wishing, I could go back.


A discussion of games friends used to play with their siblings. Suddenly I'm transported back to our backyard in California. Running around like a hooligan with my brother. Playing with our new puppy. Turning our garage into a clubhouse. Forgotten times of grand imagination adventures in our yard.


There are more memories. And someday I'll take the time to tell you some fun stories of my childhood. You may laugh. You may roll your eyes. But for now, here's a few memories, leading up to a book review. I promise this background info really does lead into something. 

This short set of memories. Triggered by a Bible.


When I was a kid, we had cable TV. We didn't watch a lot of TV. To be perfectly honest with you, the thing I remember watching most as a kid were the tapes where my parents recorded ALF back when it was on TV in the '80s. We watched those episodes over. and over. and over again. But we didn't watch much on TV (or if we did I certainly don't remember it!). Sure, there was Mr. Roger's Neighborhood at lunchtime, followed by Reading Rainbow, and if we were really lucky there would be an episode of Little House on the Prairie in the afternoon. But other than those "childhood staples," the only things I really remember watching on cable TV is The Grand Ole Opry, The Statler Brothers and The Gaither Homecoming Hour on Saturday nights. 

In addition to the shows on TV, my family also had several Gaither Homecoming videos, and we attended multiple Southern Gospel concerts when they were close to our Southern California home. In fact, my family was introduced to Southern Gospel music, and, soon thereafter,, the Gaithers, when a local Southern Gospel group came and sang at our church while on tour when I was probably about 7 years old. We bought one of their tapes, and shortly thereafter we went on a trip back south, and took our tape with us. Whenever I think of that trip I think of that CD and whenever I hear some of the songs off that CD I am instantly transported to our family adventure driving through Tennessee and North Carolina in the fall.

I essentially grew up with Vestal Goodman, Jake Hess and JD Sumner – and the rest of the Homecoming gang. And I thought it was so cool when we went to a concert at a local church where The Nelons were performing, because we watched them perform on one of our Gaither videos – and how cool to get to see some of those same people in person and hear them talking about other members of the Homecoming family! I’m also pretty sure that the first CD I ever bought was a Southern Gospel album (although I couldn’t tell you which one it was).

Of course, as I’ve grown my music selection has also grown and while I don’t listen to much from our Southern Gospel CD collection anymore, and I no longer check to see if any of the Homecoming friends just might be heading our way on tour, I jumped at the opportunity to review The Gaither Homecoming Bible.

The Gaither Homecoming Bible (NKJV) is a beautiful bible. With colorful illustrations on many of its pages, not to mention beautiful pages throughout with stories behind some of your favorite hymns and Gaither songs, it is a true treasure.

Many Homecoming favorites have shared thoughts that are sprinkled all throughout the Bible. The every-encouraging Gloria Gaither has also taken the time to put together some poems and devotions which are interspersed throughout the pages.

I think my favorite "extra" in the Bible are the stories of well-loved hymns, and favorite Gaither songs. You yourself will be inspired as you read about what brought about some classic songs. The songs and their stories are strategically placed throughout the Bible.

The Bible is a beautiful hardbound book with an absolutely beautiful dust jacket. Many of the pages are decorated with beautiful artwork. I was blown away with how beautifully the pages are decorated! There are also inspirational quotes sprinkled amongst the pages of the Bible, and for this girl who loves quotes, this is a great addition!

I will admit that as much as I like this Bible I am going to stick with my ESV MacArthur Study Bible as my primary Bible. However, I think The Gaither Homecoming Bible will be a great addition to my library and I will enjoy pouring through its pages looking at the beautiful pages and being encouraged by all the little "extras" tucked away in the pages of this Bible.

I would recommend this Bible to any Gaither Homecoming fans as well as anyone looking for a beautiful Bible that will become a treasure.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program for the opportunity to review this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.