I was recently reminded of the great respect the Islamic faith shows their holy book the Koran as I watched a character on a popular television show wrap and bury a personal copy that had been desecrated having been torn and dropped on the ground.
From very early on in my Christian sensitivities toward the Bible as the Holy Scriptures, to be revered as the word of God, I was eager to mark mine up with a pen to provide lasting annotation from my studies for the sake of teaching others. That later proved to be less than efficient for my taste, but I thought nothing of defacing the printed page with pencil and ink to connect ideas and words for my future meditation.
At some point in my scouting years, probably closer to the beginning at age 12 or 13, the manuals included U.S. flag and Holy Bible etiquette for care when disposing of them. As I recall, if a flag touched the ground or had worn to become threadbare or tattered, and if a Bible had been ruined by use or abuse they were to be burned. We have several flags that are aged but in pristine shape and I can't say we have had occasion to dispose of one, at least not that I can remember. Of Bibles however there have been many that I have used and most have in some way been abused by dropping especially. One of my favorites that I still have in my library has several pages stained with grape jelly that somehow spilled in the back of my VW Beetle while on one of my cross-state runs to girlfriends, youth rallies or camp events. I kept a Bible tucked among my change of clothes, English Leather cologne (which also leaked) and other assorted accessories for my semi-frequent weekend jaunts. I wiped it from the pages of Isaiah and began using those stains as reference markers in sword drills (contests to see who can find a Scripture reference the fastest). It never occurred to me to burn it.
Perhaps from an outside view one might think my use and care hasn't improved that much. I use what I call my "Bible on tape" even today. Bible on tape is a play on the former way, prior to compact disks (c/ds), when we may have listened to the Bible being read on cassette tape recordings. I have repaired the binding with duct tape more than once. And yes, I still read from a hard copy, black and white inked, paper page book form of the Bible. I am less inclined to write in current use versions since I want categorized retrievable notes for future use and I carry the one of choice for the day in my man purse, an attaché of sorts, but it will still be put away with other things of use and usually can be found with my latest scribblings for notes and folded messages from recent assemblies stuffed in its pages.
The primary difference in use and respect between a passionate Muslim and a devoted and particularly western bred Christian is the focus of our devotion. The western Christian is likely to be more absorbed with the content rather than the material book itself and wishes to avoid idolizing the material over the divine author. We are rather blessed to be so affluent as to possibly own several copies of the Bible in a variety of versions and even languages. The typical view in Islam is that there is only one version and one holy language for it to be read in for the fullest truth of it. The Christian will likely be of the mind to find all the versions they can and get them into the hands of as many as they can. We don't tend to throw away or burn used or abused copies (do we?), we give them away to those who may not have one to read because it is the message and not the material book itself that is vital to enlightenment.
This is all complicated so much the more with so many of us turning to the convenience of an electronic device for nearly unlimited access to versions of the Bible and everything else. Growing numbers in our assembly audiences no longer carry their hard copy Bibles.
"He said to me, 'Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving to you.' So I ate it, and it was sweet like honey in my mouth." Ezekiel 3:3
No one should be other than respectful of other books even of opposing faiths. It does nothing for our witness to them of the supremacy of the Scriptures to disrespect them. Admire the reverence given to their holy things and maybe let some of that rub off, particularly in how we handle things in public, but remember to save your reverence and your love for the Lord Himself and His precious words of instruction to us.
"All Scripture is breathed out [in words] by God and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in what's right so the person of God can be well furnished and equipped for every good work." II Timothy 3:16, 17 [brackets mine]
Grace today y'all!