I first met Beth Christian quite by chance a little after ten in the evening on a busy street corner just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The moment I lay eyes on her, I could see that Beth was a very special woman, and I made a point of approaching her. We immediately hit it off. Beth's face brightened when I told her that I was a small-time writer in town for a lodge convention -- it seems that I was just the kind of man she was looking for. Although Beth was all business, I felt that I was getting my money's worth even after spending just a few evenings with her.
Beth was every biographer's dream, a living collection of entertaining childhood reminisence. Like Scheherezade, Beth related story after fascinating story from her youth, never asking for more than dinner and perhaps a movie in return. Over the years that Beth and I maintained our unusual relationship, I learned a great deal about her formative years, and about the woman who made Beth the fascinating, introspective woman she is today -- her mother, Eve.
To Eve, scripture was the end-all and be-all of spiritual guidance, morality, and practical wisdom. Like her mother before her, Eve turned to her Bible whenever she was faced with a dilemma, and she never failed to find a solution in those holy words.
Eve didn't rely on religious leaders or so-called "scholars" for her interpretation of God's truth. She knew that every letter of every syllable of every word in the Bible was put down just as the Lord intended it to be, and that anyone on a first-name basis with the Holy Spirit can feel their true meaning in their heart.
There was no room in Eve's life for newfangled translations or rewordings of scripture "for the common man." She still used the same Bible that her family had used for generations, a yellowing tome with a beautiful woodcut of Jesus at the beginning and long-ago-filled pages listing births, weddings, and deaths at the end. The words between those leather-covered covers were those of the King James translation -- and as Eve loved to say, "If King James was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me."
In the tradition of her family, Eve made a point of passing on to Beth, her only daughter, a deep appreciation for God's word and a strong grounding in the lessons held therein. Having spent long hours memorizing every word of the Bible in her youth, Eve stood ready with an appropriate lesson whenever Beth came to her with a problem or question, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. The simple wisdom of those lessons burned them into Beth's mind for all time.
Framed by the adorable child-like innocence of Beth's questions, the selection of Eve's Bible stories within these pages hold timeless wisdom and truth. Although they are written as they were told to Beth, in the simple language of a master storyteller, they contain the true, unaltered Biblical message. Every action related, every sentiment shared, every heathen put to the sword, is described in careful, loving detail just as it was in the original text. True, Eve's interpretation may not agree with your own, and her appreciation of context and textual nuance is limited at best, but that will not stop the careful reader from seeing past such trivialities and appreciating the true message of these words.
As you turn the page, keep in mind that -- although limited space forces us to include only stories from early in the Old Testament here -- the Bible is filled with such stories and lessons. Whether you wish to know about child rearing (Genesis 19:36, Psalms 137:9), resisting temptation (Judges 16:1), monogomy (2 Samuel 5:13), respect for the differently-abled (Leviticus 21:18-21), or any other subject, the Bible is the only guide you need. Listen to the lesson of Eve's stories and you, like Beth, will become a happier, more fulfilled person.
-- Martin Catilian, January 1, 1995
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