The Bible represents the Word of God for Christians, and it is the physical manifestation of the faith on which Corrie and her family predicate their actions. For the ten Booms, the Bible always maintains its essential properties of truth and purity, even when worldly institutions become corrupted. For example, after Germany conquers Holland, the ten Booms know that their government has succumbed to Nazi philosophy, and that news outlets like the radio only give them propaganda and misinformation. In response, the family relies on Biblical teachings for a sense of direction and stability. When the ten Booms are arrested, a Nazi official tries to twist Biblical philosophy to his own ends, telling Father that the Bible commands people to respect the state, no matter what; however, Father adeptly refutes him by arguing that the Bible actually commands people to follow God, whether or not his teachings align with the goals of the state. This small victory confirms the role of the Bible as an emblem of moral stability, helping the ten Booms navigate the murky moral landscape of wartime Holland.
At the same time, Corrie presents the Bible and its teachings as flexible and adaptive, rather than static. For Father, the Bible is an inspiration for tolerance and acceptance; he bonds with a Jewish fugitive, Meyer Mossel, over their mutual love and exhaustive knowledge of Biblical texts. In this way, the Bible serves as an impetus to overcome the sectarianism that pervades their society. While she’s in prison, Corrie tears a Bible smuggled in by Nollie into pieces, giving each piece to a different prisoner. This physical action shows that the Bible, while a firm representation of justice, is not rigid but can serve in different ways to fill individual spiritual needs. By the end of the memoir, the Bible emerges as both an overarching moral guide and an intimate spiritual comfort.
The Bible Quotes in The Hiding Place
After the briefest possible discussion of business, Father would draw a small Bible form his traveling case; the wholesaler […] would snatch a book or scroll out of a drawer, clap a prayer cap onto his head; and the two of them would be off, arguing, comparing, interpreting, contradiction—reveling in each other’s company.
Each night we lighted one more candle as Eusie read the story of the Maccabees. Then we would sing, haunting, melancholy, desert music. We were all very Jewish those evenings.
Could it be part of the pattern first revealed in the Gospels? Hadn’t Jesus—and here my reading became intent indeed—hadn’t Jesus been defeated as utterly and unarguably as our little group and our small plans had been?
In the Bible I learned that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or—a lieutenant.
Life in Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels, mutually impossible. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.
I had believed the Bible always, but reading it now had nothing to do with belief. It was simply a description of the way things were—of hell and heaven, of how men act and how God acts. I had read a thousand times the story of Jesus’ arrest—how soldiers had slapped Him, laughed at Him, flogged Him. Now such happenings had faces and voices.
“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’” she quoted. “It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
And then we would hear the life-giving words passed back along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, back into Dutch. They were little previews of heaven, these evenings beneath the light bulb. I would think of Haarlem, each substantial church set behind its wrought-iron fence and its barrier of doctrine. And I would know again that in darkness God’s truth shines most clear.