INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE BIBLE – 2016

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. [Joshua 1:8 (NLT)]

great-egret-If I told you that 88% of Americans own four or five of these, you’d probably think of televisions until I told you that less than a fifth of Americans actually use them regularly. It’s the Bible—almost all of us have more than one and yet few of us ever open it more than a few times a year.

It’s estimated that over six billion Bibles have been printed since Gutenberg printed the first one in 1454. Since then, the entire Bible has been translated into 554 languages and some portion of the Bible has been translated into 2,932 languages. Within our language, we can choose from a vast array of translations—from word for word versions such as the King James to thought for thought ones like the New Living Translation to paraphrase versions such as the Message. There are large print, study, chronological, life application, and even journaling Bibles (“Journibles”) that allow us to express our creativity with doodles and sketches on the page margins. For the younger generation, the Bible has entered the 21st Century with both the Kingstone Bible, which presents the Bible in graphic novel form, and the Emoji Bible – Scripture 4 Millennials, with its Unicode-approved emojis and internet slang and contractions. We have Bibles enough for every preference and faith—we just need Bible readers.

The Bible is the foundation of our faith—it’s our history, God’s love letter to us and our ode to Him. It’s our Lord’s biography, the Church’s handbook and our instruction manual for life. Today is the International Day of the Bible. At noon, local time, people of all ages are invited to celebrate the Bible, in public or online, by reading or creatively expressing their love of God’s word. While hoping that people will share favorite Bible verses with family and friends, the event’s sponsor, The National Bible Association, hopes for more creativity such as flash mobs, singing or dancing to Scripture, and artwork or photography that capture God’s glory and add a few lines of verse.

I don’t hold out much hope for a massive demonstration of Bible lovers because, according to a recent study by the Barna Group, only 37% of those who consider themselves “practicing Christians” regularly read the Bible and more than half read it only four times a year. If we love it so much, I wonder why we don’t read it more. Two-thirds of Americans say they would like to do just that but they just can’t find the time. Somehow, I think we can all find at least five minutes a day in our busy lives for God! Today, if you don’t share your love of the Bible with someone else, perhaps you will observe this day by pausing for a few minutes to open and read your Bible and to thank God for the privilege of reading His word. And, maybe, if you don’t already do so, you’ll commit to reading God’s word regularly.

When we open the Bible, it does not say to us, “Listen: God is there!” Instead, the voice of the Spirit whispers through each line, “Look: I am here!” [Chris Webb]

Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. [Psalm 119:89-93 (NLT)]

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