The Hiding Place

by

Corrie Ten Boom

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The Bible Symbol Analysis

The Bible Symbol Icon

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

The The Hiding Place quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Bible. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith and Action Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Chosen Books edition of The Hiding Place published in 1974.
Full Table Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Corrie ten Boom (speaker), Father / Casper ten Boom
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Storm Clouds Gather Quotes

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.

Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Scheveningen Quotes

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?

Related Characters: Corrie ten Boom (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:
The Lieutenant Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Corrie ten Boom (speaker), Lieutenant Rahms
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
Ravensbruck Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Corrie ten Boom (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

Related Characters: Corrie ten Boom (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:

“‘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.”

Related Characters: Betsie ten Boom (speaker), Corrie ten Boom
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

Related Characters: Corrie ten Boom (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Hiding Place LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Hiding Place PDF

The Bible Symbol Timeline in The Hiding Place

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Bible appears in The Hiding Place. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The One Hundredth Birthday Party
Faith and Action Theme Icon
At eight-thirty, Hans and Toos come upstairs for the daily Bible reading. However, Father doesn’t begin as Christoffels is still absent. Christoffels is an old and... (full context)
Full Table
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...who is extremely concerned with spoiled food. Nollie is saved and Father starts his daily Bible reading. The text of today’s psalm reads, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield.”... (full context)
Tolerance Theme Icon
...wholesalers, many of whom are Jews. After a quick business discussion Father brings out his Bible and the wholesaler produces his prayer cap and scroll; the two men spend the rest... (full context)
The Watch Shop
Tolerance Theme Icon
...Hitler Youth, constantly talks about how much better Germany is than Holland, and calls Father’s Old Testament “the Jews’ Book of Lies.” One morning his landlady comes to the shop and tells... (full context)
Eusie
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Tolerance Theme Icon
...Father joke about the Psalms, which they both know thoroughly. After dinner, Father passes the Bible across the table to the new guest and asks if he will deliver the nightly... (full context)
Storm Clouds Gather
Forgiveness Theme Icon
...called Captain Altschuler. Clearly reveling in his new power, Otto asks after “the pious old Bible reader,” meaning Father, and demands to be invited upstairs. Corrie surreptitiously presses the buzzer button... (full context)
The Raid
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The officer jerks the Bible off its shelf and shouts at Father that the holy book prescribes obedience to the... (full context)
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Everyone gathers around Father for evening prayers—just like they did at home. Although the Bible has been left behind, Father carries its teachings in his heart and is able to... (full context)
Scheveningen
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...and surreptitiously asks if there’s anything she can get for her. Corrie asks for a Bible, needle and thread, and a toothbrush. She’s cheered up for the rest of the day. (full context)
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...back to her cell, she unwraps it to find two bars of soap and the Gospels in booklet form. She offers to share everything, but while her cellmates eagerly accept the... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
...She spends hours looking out of the tiny window in her cell and reads her Gospels again and again. She wonders if the entire war, with all its needless suffering, was... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Tolerance Theme Icon
...from talking, it’s incredible just to see other people again. She resolves to take her Gospels with her the next time and distribute them among the women; she’s learned from solitary... (full context)
The Lieutenant
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Tolerance Theme Icon
...cell and brings her to his office. He asks her to tell him about the Bible, and Corrie says that it says that with God’s help, “we need no longer walk... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Moral Choices Theme Icon
...ill in his cell. While the lieutenant has his back turned, Nollie presses a tiny Bible into Corrie’s hands. Corrie is especially thankful because she has just given away her last... (full context)
Vught
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...getting closer to Holland and feels cheered up. She gathers her toothbrush and hides her Bible inside her clothes. However, she has to wait several more hours before she’s finally allowed... (full context)
Forgiveness Theme Icon
...she feels unable to lead the clandestine prayer meetings which she’s organized and hands the Bible to Betsie. (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Forgiveness Theme Icon
...truly doesn’t mind the circumstances at the camp. Every day she prays and reads the Bible with the other women in her work crew, and this work is as satisfying to... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
...Betsie gather their toothbrushes, needles, a small bottle of vitamin oil, Nollie’s sweater, and the Bible. They’re given blankets and marched away from the camp at a fast pace; Betsie, thin... (full context)
Ravensbruck
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...this is Ravensbruck, the “notorious women’s extermination camp.” As they approach, Corrie thinks about the Bible concealed inside her clothes. It seems unimaginable that God designed his teachings for this cruel... (full context)
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Corrie knows that Betsie needs the vitamin oil, and she desperately wants to save her Bible. She begins to pray, but suddenly Betsie staggers; it seems like she’s about to faint.... (full context)
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Corrie worries that the Bible is visible under her dress, but she decides to trust in God’s protection. On her... (full context)
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...a deep sense of purpose, as she and Betsie spend every available moment sharing the Bible and leading prayers among the desperate and demoralized women. She feels that she lives two... (full context)
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Corrie has always believed in the Bible, but reading it now she feels she doesn’t even have to try to have faith—rather,... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
...but her sister simply asks God to “show us how.” She tells Corrie that the Bible passage they were reading just that morning tells them to “pray constantly, give thanks in... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Tolerance Theme Icon
...from different Christian denominations share hymns, chants, and songs. Afterwards, Betsie reads aloud from the Bible, while other women translate the text into different languages. At such times, Corrie thinks about... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
...always tempted to hoard it and prioritize her sister’s health. Betsie compares this to a Bible story in which a faithful woman’s oil jar is never empty, but Corrie doesn’t think... (full context)
The Blue Sweater
Moral Choices Theme Icon
...noon and spends the rest of the day reading to the other women from the Bible and leading prayers. (full context)
Forgiveness Theme Icon
...for this, as she gets to spend all day with Betsie, praying and studying the Bible. The women become “the praying heart of the vast diseased body that was Ravensbruck,” trying... (full context)
The Three Visions
Tolerance Theme Icon
...later, she’s called aside during roll call. She wonders if someone has reported her clandestine Bible, but after roll call a guard takes her to the administrative building where an officer... (full context)
Faith and Action Theme Icon
Forgiveness Theme Icon
...swollen legs to heal, Corrie finds a young Dutch woman to whom she bequeaths her Bible. (full context)