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She's Read the Bible 342 Times and Counting!

Not many Christians can say they’ve read their Bible from Genesis to Revelation even a handful of times.

But Dr. Pauline Hughes Emery — a long-time friend of North Greenville University who was honored at the December 2017 commencement with an honorary doctorate  — has read hers through 342 times so far.

One of the people who influenced her to be so diligent was her “grandma.” She can still imagine her grandmother sitting on the front porch of her home, located at the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 11, reading her Bible every day amongst all her flowers.

From an early age, Pauline learned to help out at home while her parents worked at the textile mill in Taylors, SC. She could milk cows, feed hogs, work a garden, churn butter, bring water to the house, and take the family’s clothes to the spring called the “wash place” to do laundry and then hang them out on a line. 

“We were poor, but everyone in the community was like that,” she says. “We had to make a living.”

Pauline also went to school. She completed the eighth grade at Jordan High School and later earned her GED certificate from Greenville Technical College.

She faithfully attended Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Travelers Rest, SC, where she was saved at the age of 16. One Sunday when she and her friends were walking home from church, a young man who was driving a 1936 Ford pulled up beside them and began talking to them.

“When I first saw Pauline, I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen,” remembers Dr. Arnold Emery (AA ’58, BS ’96). “I said, ‘She is going to be mine.’”

At first, Pauline’s parents wouldn’t let her ride with Arnold because he was a “‘reckless driver,’” she says. But eventually, they came around. The two were married when she was 18 and he was 21.

In their early years together, the couple rented a house in the O’Neal community until they built the home where they currently live in Landrum, SC. Pauline worked in the mending room at the textile mill, just like her parents, for 20 years before joining Arnold at his company. He owned Arnold Emery Lumber Co. Inc. for more than 40 years.  

Years after they were married, the Emerys’ pastor at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church at the time — Rev. Gary Wells — challenged the congregation to read the Bible on a regular basis.

“He told us to start reading a couple of verses a day, then eight verses, then chapters. I decided to start in Genesis and read through Revelation,” Pauline says.

And as they say, the rest is history.

“I don’t watch a lot of TV. I keep my Bible by my chair. I can read four or five chapters at a time,” Pauline says. “You get interested in it, and you read more and more.”

She can read the whole Bible through in a month.

Pauline has demonstrated that same level of commitment in her relationships, too. The Emerys have been married now for more than 65 years, and they’ve been faithful friends and donors to NGU for almost as long.

Arnold attended North Greenville Academy on the G.I. Bill after serving two years in the nation’s military. He graduated from North Greenville Junior College with a two-year degree in 1958 and later earned a four-year degree from North Greenville College. He began his service on NGU’s Board of Trustees when Dr. James D. Jordan, Jr., became president in 1981 and has served at least five five-year terms since then.

The Emery family has also supported NGU financially in almost every way imaginable through the years.  

At the December 2017 commencement, NGU recognized Pauline with an honorary doctorate, not simply for reading the Bible through 342 times, but for the example of obedience she has set for all followers of Christ.

“All young people should read the Bible through at least once,” she encourages. “Start it when you’re younger, and you will remember a lot of the verses.”


   

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