The Proper Way to Dispose of an Old Bible

Does Scripture Provide Instruction for Discarding Worn or Damaged Bibles?

Donate Used Bibles - Old Bible
Image: © Mary Fairchild

A reader, Jory, emailed me with this question:

"Is there a proper way to dispose of an old, worn out Bible that is falling apart? I figured there might be a certain way to respectfully dispose of it, but I am not sure, and I would most certainly not want to simply throw it away."

There are no specific scriptural instructions about 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.

Unlike Judaism which requires a Torah scroll that is damaged beyond repair to be buried in a Jewish cemetery, discarding an old Christian Bible is a matter of personal conviction. While some may prefer to keep cherished copies of the Good Book for sentimental reasons, if a Bible is truly worn or damaged beyond use, it can be disposed of in whatever manner one's conscience dictates.

Oftentimes, however, an old Bible can be easily repaired, and many organizations—churches, prison ministries, and charities—are set up to recycle and reuse them.

If your Bible has significant sentimental value, you might want to consider having it restored. A professional book restoration service can likely repair an old or damaged Bible back to nearly new condition.

How to Donate Used Bibles

Countless Christians cannot afford to purchase a new Bible, so a donated Bible is a valuable gift. Before you throw away an old Bible, prayerfully consider giving it to someone or donating it to a local church or ministry.

My husband and I like to offer old Bibles free of charge at our yard sales.

Here are more options for donating your old Bibles:

  • BibleSenders.org - Bible Senders accepts new, slightly used, recycled and old Bibles in any language. No Bibles with ripped, torn, loose or missing pages, please. Donated Bibles will be sent free of charge to anyone who asks. Visit BibleSenders.org for specific mailing instructions.
  • Bible Foundation Network for Sending Bibles - Check out this network for distributing Bibles, holding Bible drives, collection, transportation, etc.
  • Master Bible Collection/Distribution Centers in U.S.A. and Canada - Find a list of Bible collection and distribution centers in the United States and Canada. New, used, recycled and old Bibles (even parts of Bibles) can be sent to locations on this list. Be sure to make contact before sending.
  • Many local churches accept used Bibles for believers in need.
  • Some local libraries may accept donated, old Bibles.
  • Used bookstores and thrift stores may accept old Bibles for resale.
  • Homeless shelters and feeding centers may accept old Bibles. 

One last tip! However you decide to discard or donate that used Bible, be sure to take a moment to check through it for papers and notes that may have been inserted over the years. Many people keep sermon notes, family records, and other important documents and references inside the pages of their Bible. You may want to hang on to this information.

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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "The Proper Way to Dispose of an Old Bible." ThoughtCo, Mar. 8, 2016, thoughtco.com/proper-way-to-dispose-of-an-old-bible-700233. Fairchild, Mary. (2016, March 8). The Proper Way to Dispose of an Old Bible. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/proper-way-to-dispose-of-an-old-bible-700233 Fairchild, Mary. "The Proper Way to Dispose of an Old Bible." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/proper-way-to-dispose-of-an-old-bible-700233 (accessed December 15, 2017).