Numerous times in my life I have heard vague references to leaving a Bible open, usually on a table near you, as you sleep.

Is this is a real practice? If so what is the purpose? Is it thought to offer some protection? Is it thought to revitalize the soul?

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    Welcome! This might work as a question here if this practice were at least somewhat common, but I don't get the impression that it is. We could also only tell you what people say about it – according to proponents what it does, or according to Catholics what it does, for example. Your best bet would be to ask the people you've heard this from. If you haven't already done so, I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 13:05
  • @Nathaniel Why should the commonality of something affect the question scope? If it's common we should be able to answer what it is, if it's uncommon then saying it's not a common practice would be an answer wouldn't it?
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 9:11
  • Den, thanks for asking this question here! My primary concern was that you were the only person to have ever heard this, but I now realize that that's clearly not the case. So, especially following Caleb's edits, this is a great question. Thanks! Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


While doubtless some do actually sleep with the Good Book physically open by their bedsides, the bulk of the usage of this phrasing is idiomatic. At least in every context I've ever heard it, whether a Bible was physically open or not was not the point so much as that it was easily accessible and actively used: the last thing you were looking at each night and the first thing you would reach for in the morning.

Given that you say when you've heard it the references have been vague, I suspect what you've been hearing is also this idiomatic usage. To my knowledge none of the major branches of Christianity teach that this should literally happen. Again it's possible that some small groups here and there hold some eccentric view, but most English speaking Christians are less likely to mean this literally than idiomatically.


Sadly, everyone so far is misguided in theories. Yes, this is a common practice for people who originate from the deep south. You place your Bible set to which ever verse you need at the time. Proverbs for wisdom. Psalms for protection. Songs of Solomon for love...etc... just my input, if anyone has further intrest in this practice...

  • Where is the Deep South?
    – 007
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 22:15
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    Thanks for letting us know that this is a literal, common practice in some places. Could you tell us about the motivation? I would think it might be anywhere from being like a magic incantation to encouraging oneself to ponder that verse before sleeping and upon awakening.
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 0:37
  • Welcome to the site! I hope you will explore our site with the tour and such. Now, this answer does not really address the question. The question is "why sleep next to an open Bible?" And the other subsequent questions surrounding the motivation of doing so, which is not addressed in your answer. Also see what makes a good supported answer. I hope you will continue to look at other Qs and As and stick around. Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 21:16
  • @Kris Deep South almost certainly means the far South of the USA, which is called the Bible Belt for its religious adherence. Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 3:36

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