In the early morning, the best place to find Ralph Reed is in his “Oval Office.”
That’s the family’s nickname for the enclosed sunroom where he studies the Bible each day. His work table in his Harrison County home is neatly stacked with books, correction fluid, pens, his Bible and several notebooks. Those notebooks play a significant role. Reed is writing the Bible, word for word, into those notebooks.
“I’m writing the Bible down because it’s the best way to remember it,” he said. “I just finished the Old Testament, and I just finished Psalms. Something came to me to do what I’m doing. I’ve been going at this for about eight months.”
He also just turned 80.
Reed worked in the commissary at Keesler Air Force Base for years, then he was “sent to Base Housing and I got hurt working there. I retired on medical,” he said, at 40. “Most of my grandkids don’t remember seeing me go to a job.” Because of his injuries, sitting in church for long periods can be difficult.
“I’ve been a Bible studier for 50 years,” he said. “I’ve always loved to study it. But I can’t take credit for what I’m doing. I’m led to do it. My motivation is through the Word. The Bible is a book of miracles but also of mysteries and inspiration. I’m using what years I have left to do this.”
Cataracts had impaired his reading, but surgery corrected that problem and allowed Reed to continue his studies. Writing down the words of the Bible also helps he catch nuances he said he could miss in his reading.
“The mysteries that I’ve seen by writing it down ....” he said. “I’m retaining a lot of what I was missing.”
Reed’s favorite book of the Bible is Romans, also known as the Letter to the Romans. The sixth book in the New Testament was written by the Apostle Paul to help Gentiles understand the Gospel of Christ leads to salvation.
“I love Paul. He loved the Gentiles so much, he gave his life’s work to get people to follow Jesus. I’m a little envious of him,” he said with a chuckle.
As for his favorite character in the Bible, “besides Jesus Christ, that has got to be David. He had a lot of ways like me. And he had the sweetest prayers. He agonized.”
As for his routine, Reed said it depends on the day how long he spends in the Oval Office.
“On duck days — when it’s raining — I can stay in there 10, 12, 16 hours,” he said. “My doctor says if I feel restless at night, I should get up. At 3 the other morning, I was restless, so I got up and went in there. It can be something like four hours, get a cup of coffee. Then two, three, four more hours. I believe if you have an open mind and you’re inspired, you’ll be led to do something. My time is his time.”
Reed doesn’t believe he has any special anointing in reading or interpreting Scripture.
“I can’t claim any favor in me,” he said. “God allows me to enjoy him. I don’t know the word of God; I know God.”