The Bible does not comment within its pages regarding how to dispose of an old or damaged Bible. As a result, there is no proper or biblical requirement for how to proceed in this area. However, a variety of traditions have developed that are helpful to be aware of if one encounters a situation in which there is the need to dispose of an older Bible.
How should one dispose of a ruined Bible?
First, if you simply have an extra Bible you no longer use, seek to share it with someone else who could use it. Churches, local homeless shelters, Christian schools, nursing homes, prisons, mission organizations, or other similar groups often place used Bibles into the hands of those who can benefit from reading them.
Second, if your Bible is too old or damaged for use, you could follow the Jewish practice for "retiring" aged Torah scrolls. In the Jewish tradition, aged scrolls were generally placed in a cave or buried. Some continue this tradition with their Bibles, burying them with the same respect one would say goodbye to a loved one.
Third, to avoid throwing a Bible in the trash, some prefer to burn unusable Bibles out of respect. While there is nothing wrong with throwing away an old Bible that can no longer be used, there is also nothing wrong with choosing to discard a damaged Bible by burning.
Fourth, some choose to at least recycle older Bibles as a form of good stewardship. This is commendable and a practice one could encourage to others. Further, some have taken an additional step and have "upcycled" unusable Bibles by taking single pages from an older Bible and using them in various art or framed wall hangings. Such displays can be inspirational for one's own life or as a gift to others.
Regardless of the method selected, the goal is to only discard Bibles that are truly no longer usable. Millions of people have never had access to Scripture in their own language and desperately desire the resources we take for granted. Instead of disposing of a Bible that could be reused, commit to reading it, sharing it, and applying its teachings in your life each day.
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