I'm finding myself accumulating various copies of the scriptures, and honestly, I don't need all of them laying around. Nowadays I study, read, and mark them electronically.

So now I'm looking to declutter my living space. Throwing them away feels kind of weird... donating them does too, since some are marked up from my studies, have personal notes in them, or have my name engraved on the front.

I'll probably just keep one or two nice printed copies for guests or convenience.

Is it bad to throw scriptures away? Is there a better way?

Note: I live in a rural area and it's common to burn our own trash, since we don't have a sanitation service here. But I'm definitely open to options that don't involve burning. :) -- And actually, an option that doesn't involve burning, if there is one, would be good so that the answer applies to more people.

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    Good question. The national flag is usually treated with respect and care, so I would expect that a book - having so much significance - would be treated with respect and care as well, or at least not treated in a way to connote disrespect in front of an audience. – Double U Dec 24 '13 at 1:29
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    I believe burning followed by burying is a standard way to dispose of sacred things that are no longer needed/wanted/usable. – Andreas Blass Dec 24 '13 at 1:33
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    Saving them for your children might be fun. Btw, this is primarily opinion based. Perhaps if you ask for any traditions or historical precedence. – fгedsbend Dec 24 '13 at 5:52
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    @fredsbend Although I do not disagree that the question is opinion-based, I think many denominations in the West share the same opinion on this matter specifically. Therefore, I think this question can be kept. – Double U Dec 24 '13 at 6:18
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    Donate them to Goodwill? – Narnian Dec 26 '13 at 19:01

Mary Fairchild belongs to the Calvary Chapel denomination, and she writes:

There are no specific scriptural instructions on how to dispose of an old Bible. While God's Word is holy and to be honored (Psalm 138:2), there's nothing sacred or hallowed in the physical materials: the paper, parchment, leather, and ink.

She suggests that, instead of discarding or disposing it, a person should consider donating it to a ministry or someone who wants one.

Christian, Protestant, conservative, evangelical, fundamental, and non-denominational people on gotquestions.org (I think they're Fundamentalists.) write:

There is no "biblical" way to dispose of an old/damaged/ruined Bible, as the Bible itself does not address this question. It is, therefore, a matter of personal conviction. It is important to understand that it is not the paper, binding, and ink that are "sacred" or "holy." It is the Word of God that is holy, not the material it is printed on. We are not to worship or idolize the Bible. The purpose of the Bible is to teach us about Jesus the Savior and the salvation He provides and to point us to worship Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The paper and ink of a Bible are merely the means through which God communicates His Word to us.

Like Mary Fairchild, they advise donating to the donator's descendants or others who want it.

Catholics agree! I will let them speak for themselves.

There is no specifically mandated means of disposing of old Bibles. Some Catholics follow a custom of disposing of religious articles that have been blessed either by burying or burning them, but even that is not mandated by law. If the Bible has been blessed you might choose to follow that custom. If not, dispose of it as you would any other book. If it’s still in fair condition, you might put it on a book donation table to benefit someone else.

Jon M. Sweeney does not really mention the LDS Church, but he does have a rather strong opinion of what to do about any type of holy book -- be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever -- that the asker may find helpful, for the reason that the asker belongs to the LDS denomination:

You don't burn them. You never, ever burn them.

You bury them.

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    Might want to see if LDS says anything specific because Matt is one. – fгedsbend Dec 24 '13 at 6:25
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    Burying old books used to also be common (and very respectful) practice in Judaism. – IQAndreas Apr 16 '14 at 5:18
  • I think I would choose to burn a Bible rather than bury it, if I ever had to dispose of one. – Flimzy Aug 18 '14 at 15:36

Before I lost my sight I was involved in Prison Ministry, and they are constantly in need of Bibles. Also they can and do supply things such as books, periodicals, and such to Chaplains for use in their libraries. Also any teaching aids you may have would be greatly appreciated.

You might find a Ministry through Google or if you live near a prison a call to the Chaplain will give you some great guidance.

If your efforts add just one person to the Kingdom it is well worth your efforts.

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    +1 for prisons (and implicitly, hospitals) -- as Christ went to the captive and the sick to free them and heal them. – Matt Dec 24 '13 at 16:18
  • Good commentary, but not an answer. I don't know of any prisons or other organizations that want to receive Bibles damaged beyond use. What should be done with these? – Flimzy Dec 27 '13 at 11:44
  • @ Flimsy You are right that the prisons do not want such Bibles, as for the disposition of those that is more to the individual as to how he or she reveres them. – BYE Dec 27 '13 at 12:09

I don't think I have ever thrown away a Bible in my life, but I would donate them to Goodwill or Salvation Army because the other day I bought a study edition '84 NIV bible for $5. It was a steal because usually they go for $100 or so. Just donate them all to Goodwill and give them the burden.

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    I agree with this approach, along with donating bible to prisons or other places where they want them. voices.yahoo.com/how-donate-bibles-worthy-cause-29552.html – Steve Dec 24 '13 at 14:40
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    I'll upvote it because it's definitely a good idea, and wholly Christian. My only concern is that my personal notes and markings are in some of these... but for the unmarked ones, definitely! – Matt Dec 24 '13 at 16:16
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    @Matt I ordered a Bible on Amazon. It was marked a bit, but I still accepted it. I also purchased marked textbooks too. I find annotated books can be helpful, because you can see what the former owner was interested in or found insightful. – Double U Dec 25 '13 at 19:55
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    Good commentary, but not an answer. I don't know of any any organizations that want to receive Bibles damaged beyond use. What should be done with these? – Flimzy Dec 27 '13 at 11:44

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