My grandfather, John Acel Jenkins, was an amazing person. He preached the gospel for over 50 years while supporting himself as a wallpaper hanger and a barber. As far back as I remember, he and my grandmother lived about a block away, and I spent lots of time with him in my early years. His great spirituality is reflected in the heritage of “Jenkins” preachers who have carried on his spiritual values.
I remember when I was beginning to be able to read that I loved reading the Bible. He would often give me something to discover in the Bible and even though I found the right answer, he had another “answer” based on his personality. For example, I remember him asking me who the first farmer was in the Bible. Because of the Bible classes at the West Huntsville church, I likely knew the answer, but he told me to go to the Bible and find the answer. It did not take long to read those first four chapters of the Bible and learn that it was Cain. So, with my Bible opened to Genesis 4:2, I went to him. His reply, “Wrong answer.” I read those chapters again, and I went back to prove he was wrong. I finally gave up, and his witty answer was, “Adam was the first farmer. He raised ‘Cane.’”
He once asked me where baseball was found in the Bible. I tried to find it but finally gave up. He told me it was mentioned first in Genesis 1:1. I read it but did not see it until he said, “Baseball is mentioned in the first verse when it mentions ‘the big inning.’” He helped me learn how to research things in the Bible.
One other lesson he taught me was to think about how you spell devil. It was obvious, so I spelled it correctly to him. He then asked what I would have if I took the first letter off the word devil. I got that one right. The word devil without the “D” is evil. He spent some time talking about evil and how it is all related to the devil.
“What would you have if you took the first two letters off devil. His answer (using his unusual wit) was, “Remove the ‘DE’ from devil, and you have ‘vile.’” He then spent time reminding me that is what Satan is and what he brings to us and you must never forget it. What if you remove the “DEV” from devil? You have “ill” and all the spiritual sickness there is in the world comes from Satan. Remove “DEVI” and what do you have? When I said, “L,” he asked what that rhymes with, and it did not take long for me to guess, “It rhymes with hell.” He reminded me that place is prepared for the devil and his angels.
He also asked me where football and tennis were found, but I will leave it up to you to find. Thank God for my grandfather teaching me the joy of discovering things in the Bible. I hope all grandfathers can do this for their grandkids.