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Ask The UMC: How should we dispose of Bibles?

God is the giver of good gifts and the things we use in our life of worship, prayer, study and service. These objects become bearers to us of God's word.

When so worn or damaged as to be no longer useable, Bibles should be disposed of with reverence and with appropriate ritual action.

In such a ritual, a congregation or community offers thanks to God for the gifts involved in the items offered and returns them back to God by returning them to the earth. Such return to the earth may happen by burial or by burning, with the ashes interred after the burning is complete.

In light of God's call to be good stewards, it is a good practice to give gently used Bibles, Sunday school curriculum or devotional books to people or communities who need them. Always keep in mind whether the resources are still current and contextually appropriate for the recipients.  

Have questions? Ask The UMC or find a pastor near you to talk with. And check out other recent Q&As.

This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications. First published Jan. 29, 2019.