The Reformed folk of the world (among others) are gearing up for the release of the new ESV Study Bible on Wednesday. Around these parts (especially if you’re a seminary student), it’s going to be insane. I think of it as Harry Potter for Presbyterians.
This past Thursday, when I arrived at Covenant’s bookstore to work my afternoon shift, I saw 25 unopened orange, white, and black boxes in the back, just waiting to be “received” (the term we use for the process of entering new books into the system before putting them on the shelves). Thinking it might be a good idea to go ahead and process the new ESVs, I giddily asked my boss, Nick, if I could open a box, to which he responded that we’re not supposed to open them until Tuesday.
What!? Wait until Tuesday!? It’s not like we’re going to give away the story! Sigh.
Respecting Nick’s wishes, I received some other boxes of books, periodically glancing through the door to the back and trying to figure out how to get my grubby hands on one of the new Bibles without Nick knowing. I could open a box, take a look, and then re-tape it (unfortunately, our tape is clear and their tape was white); I could open a box and say it was already opened (presumably by Dave, my co-worker who worked the morning shift), but Nick would never believe me (and Dave would never do that).
Nothing like questionable employee integrity at a bookstore that espouses a Christian worldview (or the fact that I teach Ethics for a living at a Christian high school) for irony.
I resisted two hours of temptation on Thursday and survived, but I’ve got another two-hour shift on Monday that will surely test my mettle. Thankfully, I work Tuesday afternoon, so I’ll finally get one (free for employees!) without having to deal with the hundreds of PCAers the next morning who will have camped out that night dressed as their favorite Bible character to be first in line to get their own personal copy.
I’m guessing I’ll miss the bulk of those sitting on the floor frantically reading while they wait to check out, not to mention Nick dressed up like Moses, holding out a copy of the ESV in each hand. I’ll probably also miss all the squeals of surprise at the 200-plus full-color maps and the gasps of joy at the 20,000 notes written by “a team of 95 outstanding evangelical Bible scholars and teachers,” including several of my professors from Covenant.
Indeed, by my Thursday afternoon shift, the store will probably be completely ravaged from the events of the day before, and it will fall to me to deal with all the empty boxes and jostled books. I’ll work my shift knowing that folks will probably still be cuddled up with their new ESV Bibles, refusing to come out of their apartments and homes until they read the book cover to cover. As I’m shelving whatever few copies remain from our massive 25-box order, I’ll smile at the thought of dozens more readers accessing the ESV’s special online resources, reliving the Bible in a kind of digital glory.
It will be a magical day. J.K. Rowling would be proud. And, I think, God will be pleased.
Anybody getting an ESV on Wednesday?