Friday, April 1, 2011

Bibles, Bibles everywhere

This article has been taken from Sermon Central by Paul Camini

Americans buy 25 million new Bibles every year—and that’s not counting the millions that are given away by churches, Bible societies, and other ministries.  The Bible is not only the best-selling book of all time; it’s the best-selling book every single year!

Yet we all know that the incidence of Bible reading is going down, not up. In the last few decades, one in five Bible readers has given up on Scripture. Today, twice as many people think the Bible is a fairy tale as did when I started in ministry.

The problem isn’t just outside the church, either. Willow Creek’s groundbreaking REVEAL study uncovered a surprising hunger for God’s Word among our congregations: 87 percent of churchgoers identified in-depth Bible study as “very” or “critically” important. No other spiritual need scored this highly.

But the REVEAL study also contained more sobering news: Only one in five churchgoers says their church offers in-depth Bible engagement. 

For me, there is a compelling sense of opportunity and urgency in these numbers. As the authors of the REVEAL study concluded, “The Bible is the most powerful catalyst for spiritual growth. [Its] power to advance spiritual growth is unrivaled by anything else we’ve discovered.”

But how many of us have figured out how to unleash this power in ourchurch communities? And if we don’t find a way to better Bible engagement, how much longer before our parishioners start looking outside the church for spiritual direction?

This question prompted a two-year journey at Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). For more than two centuries now, we’ve translated and distributed Bibles all over the world. We’ve been privileged to serve as stewards of the NIV, the most widely read contemporary English version of the Bible.

But we’ve come to realize that translating, publishing, and distributing Bibles—while important—isn’t enough. It’s not good enough to ask, “Do people have the Bible?” We also have to ask, “What kind of experience are they having with the Bible?”

This article has been taken from Sermon Central by Paul Camini

What kind of experience are you having with the Bible personally? we'd love to hear your comments below

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed Reading that post. Loved how Camini says, "We haven’t fully come to grips with the reality that the Bible was written for us, but not directly to us. In the words of N.T. Wright, we have to learn to read it “with first-century eyes.”
    Am learning lots recently about researching the context of the day and as best as possible finding out the authors original intent, and then what that means for you and I today. I have also been amazed and challenged about mis interpreting a verse because it hasn't been read in context of the chapter or book. So I also apprecited reading, "For the most part, biblical books were meant to be read as whole units, from beginning to end." These revelations are really encouraging me to study the bible much more and differently to how I have done so in the past.