Service for Disposal of Old Bibles or Devotional Books

This service was developed in response to requests for a rite for use at the disposal of old 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 worn or no longer useful, they should be disposed of with appropriate ritual action.

This service may be used and led by any Christian in disposing of a Bible or devotional book that is so worn that it is no longer usable. This service may be used by one person, but it is recommended that a family or gathering of Christian friends use the service.

In light of God's call to be good stewards, we should give Bibles that may still be of worthy use to people or communities who need them.

This service should be conducted in a space where a fire may be safely lighted. The fire should be hot enough and of such size that it will consume all the pages of the Bible or devotional book.

Pastors may want to plan a congregational or community service (perhaps, ecumenical in its planning and leadership) and invite people to bring worn-out Bibles or devotional and prayer books for disposal.

A fire may be lighted prior to the start of this time of worship and prayer. Burial of Bibles in an appropriate place may be used as an alternative to burning.


Our help is in the name of the Lord,
The maker of heaven and earth.
Your word is a lamp to our feet,
And a light to our path.

Hymn or Song
The United Methodist Hymnal, hymns and prayers from 594-603 or hymns listed under "Prayer for Illumination" on page 951.

Blessed Lord, you have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
(after The Book of Common Prayer)

Scripture Reading (from a Bible to be disposed of)
Psalm 119:89-96
Psalm 119:105-112
2 Timothy 3: 10- 17
Hebrews 4:12-13
James 1: 19-27
Matthew 4: 1-11

Thanksgiving and Remembrance
Holy God, we do not live by bread alone.
Your word in the Holy Scriptures nourishes our spirits and
guides us in loving you and our neighbor.
We thank you for this Bible and for the joy and strength
that you have given to us in its use.
With thanksgiving, we give back to you these sacred pages.

(For use with a prayer book or devotional book)
Lord Jesus, you invite your disciples to be with you in prayer.
We thank you for this treasury of the church's devotion and worship.
With this book you have searched us,
turned our hearts toward you,
awakened us to the way of love,
prompted us to obey the Spirit, and
transformed our affections.
Now we place this book into the fire (ground) with our thanks.

Here the Bible or prayer book is placed in the fire. For more complete burning, smaller portions of the book may need to be placed in the fire. As an alternative, the Bible may be buried.

A time of silence and reflection may be observed.

Dismissal with Blessing




Daniel T. Benedict, Jr. is retired from the staff of the Discipleship Ministries.

Categories: Worship, Services and Liturgies, Congregations & Buildings, Occasional Rites