Bible Engagement Blog: JumpIntoTheWord

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Find-A-Bible

Here’s a shout-out for Find-A-Bible.

What is Find-A-Bible (FAB)? According to the FAB website it “is a web directory providing links to the Bibles and biblical resources in the 6000+ languages of the world. The FAB directory is primarily made of content created by members of the Forum of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) and is intended to help people discover and obtain Scriptures and biblical resources in the language and media of their choice for discipleship, evangelism, and church planting. The associated databases and delivery tools were created and are maintained by the Digital Bible Society (DBS). Find-A-Bible is made up of links to print Bibles, print-on-demand Bibles, digital Bibles, audio Bibles, visual Bibles and Bible resources – in multiple formats.”

FAB is a collaborative endeavour where the world’s major Bible agencies partner to provide a convenient digital hub where people can quickly and readily find biblical resources and Bibles in every language. FAB also serves as a point of reference for Bible translation organizations looking to discover what Bibles, or Bible portions, have or haven’t been published in a specific language.

FAB has been created because a core belief of FOBAI member agencies is that the Bible is essential for discipleship and advancing the kingdom of God among every tribe and tongue and people. If you are someone seeking God, a Christian, or a missionary/pastor/teacher looking for excellent biblical resources in your heart language or the heart language of the people you’re working/living with, then FAB should prove to be a helpful information bank for multi-lingual Bible resources.

One more thing: If you’re checking out FAB, take an extra few minutes to check out the FOBAI Scripture Engagement landing page. It’s jam packed with an extensive selection of research findings, resources, articles, links, and such, about Bible engagement. There’s information on Bible reading, Bible study, Bible storying, Bible preaching, Bible meditation and Bible memorization. There are resources about engaging children, youth, women, other religions, the deaf, and post-Christian societies with the Scriptures. There are also many papers, essays, blogs, books and journals that cover topics like Bible translation, literacy, orality, culture, contextualisation, the arts, media, the church, advocacy, tools and methods.

© Scripture Union Canada 2016

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Top Ten Urban Myths About The Bible

Here’s a great post from my friend and colleague, Whitney T. Kuniholm:

You know what an “urban myth” is, right?  It’s “a story of obscure origin that has little or no supporting evidence, and yet spreads spontaneously.” In other words, it’s a popular belief that’s not true.  That seems like a perfect description of what many people think about the Bible.  How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, today we know the Bible isn’t true because…”?
So what I’d like to do is respectfully challenge some popular misimpressions about the Bible.  But first, let me be upfront about my bias: I believe the Bible is true.  So what I’ll do is give you the evidence that led me to my conclusion.  Then it will be up to you to make up your own mind.  Fair enough?  OK, so let’s take a look at the Top 10 Urban Myths about the Bible.

  1. The Bible was created by church officials to maintain their own power. “The content is far too counterproductive…to promote [the church] policies, consolidate their power, and build their movement. If this popular view is correct, we would expect to see many places in the gospels where Jesus takes sides in debates that were going on in the early church …However, we do not find this.” Timothy Keller in The Reason for God.
  2. Modern translations of the Bible obscure the original meaning. “The only kind of sanctity which Scripture can lose (or, at least, New Testament scripture) by being modernized is an accidental kind which it never had for its writers or earliest readers… We ought therefore welcome all new translations (when they are made by sound scholars).” C.S. Lewis in God in the Dock.
  3. The Bible as we know it omits other Gospels that tell a different story about Jesus. “The vastly exaggerated claims made on behalf of these gospels are more revealing about what contemporary scholars and writers would like to find about the first Christian ages, and how these ideas are communicated, accurately or otherwise, to a mass public. The alternative gospels are thus very important sources …for what they tell us about the interest groups who seek to use them today; about the mass media, and how religion is packaged as popular culture…” Philip Jenkins in Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way.
  4. The Bible was written centuries after the events it describes supposedly happened. “The great majority of the New Testament books were penned between A.D. 50 and 100.” David F. Payne in New International Bible Commentary.
  5. The Bible’s view of God is inconsistent: in the Old Testament he’s mean and angry, in the New Testament he’s loving and forgiving. “The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil… Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it, or in return for injury received. No; while God will vindicate His dominion as Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.” A.W. Pink in The Attributes of God.
  6. The Bible advocates things we know are wrong, like slavery. “While the Bible does not reject slavery outright, the conclusion that it actually favors slavery is patently wrong. Scripture does reveal that slavery is not ideal, both in Old Testament laws forbidding the enslavement of fellow Israelites, the law of jubilee, and in New Testament applications of Christ. In fact, the Bible teaches that the feeling of superiority in general is sin! The abolition of slavery is thus not only permissible by biblical standards, but demanded by biblical principles.” Ravi Zacharias, “Does the Bible Condone Slavery” in Slice of Infinity (http://www.rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/does-the-bible-condone-slavery/).
  7. The Bible is against proven science. “Science and religion … are friends, not foes, in the common quest for knowledge. Some people may find this surprising, for there’s a feeling throughout our society that religious belief is outmoded, or downright impossible, in a scientific age. I don’t agree. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if people in this so-called ‘scientific age’ knew a bit more about science than many of them actually do, they’d find it easier to share my view.” Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne in Quarks, Chaos and Christianity.
  8. The Bible has been discredited by modern archaeology. “Now, however, it is no longer possible to reject the substantial historicity of the Bible, at least as far back as the time of Abraham, because of the remarkable discoveries of archaeology.” Henry Morris as quoted by Roy Mills in Truth—Not Exactly: A Book for Truth Seekers and Those They Care About.
  9. The Bible is full of errors and can’t be trusted. “We can be sure that copyists worked with great care and accuracy on the Old Testament, even back to 225 B.C. At that time there were two or three types of text available for copying. These types differed amongst themselves so little, however, that we can infer that still earlier copyists had also faithfully and carefully transmitted the Old Testament text. Indeed, it would be rash skepticism that would now deny that we have our Old Testament in a form very close to that used by Ezra when he taught the Law to those who had returned from the Babylonian captivity.” From an essay by R. Laird Harris, “How Reliable Is the Old Testament Text?”, in the book, Can I Trust My Bible?
  10. The Bible may be great literature but it’s not “inspired by God. “The word ‘inspired’ … refers not to the writers, but to the words that have been written… A further indication that the Bible is the Word of God is in the remarkable number of fulfilled prophecies it contains.” Paul E. Little in Know Why You Believe.

What do you think?  Before you answer, there’s one more important piece of evidence you need. For the sake of intellectual integrity you should read the Bible yourself.  Then you can make your own decision.   So here’s my challenge: find a Bible and read the Gospel of John.  No preaching from me or anyone else.  Just “pick it up and read it,” as a child once challenge St. Augustine.  It changed his life and I pray it will change yours.

Visit The Essential Bible Blog to read other thought provoking posts by Whitney T. Kuniholm.


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Forum of Bible Agencies Award of Excellence

Philadelphia, PA. The Forum of Bible Agencies – North America (FOBA-NA) recently presented its first-ever “Award of Excellence” for 2015 to YouVersion and OneHope for their efforts in developing a digital Scripture resource for children called the Bible App for Kids. The Award will be given each year for significant contribution to the cause of Bible translation, distribution or engagement.

“The Bible App for Kids perfectly symbolizes two things the Forum stands for”, commented FOBA-NA Chairperson Mr. Whitney T. Kuniholm, “best practices in Bible-related ministry and effective collaboration among Bible-focused organizations.”

The Bible App for Kids is a free, downloadable mobile application that helps children experience the Bible in 41 separate stories. The App is available in 11 languages, across multiple platforms and is designed to help children fall in love with God’s Word.

Since its release in November 2013 The Bible App for Kids has been downloaded more than 9.3 million times making it the most popular Bible story app in the world. In addition, it has become one of the top apps in the “education” and “Bible” categories. Based on that success, YouVersion and OneHope have just released The Bible App for Kids Storybook Bible, a full-colour 416 page hardcover book featuring 28 Bible stories that are easily understood by children but enjoyed by entire families.

YouVersion is a ministry of Life.Church, a multi-site church based in Oklahoma, and globally online atlive.life.church. YouVersion is also the creator of The Bible App which helps adults engage with God’s Word; to date it has been downloaded over 200 million times.

OneHope is an international ministry that reaches children and youth around the world with God’s Word – more than a billion kids in 145 countries have encountered a OneHope Scripture program since 1987. OneHope conducts research with children and youth, leaders and educators around the world, and collaborates with thousands of local churches and ministries, local governments, schools and non-governmental organizations.

The Forum of Bible Agencies – North America is an alliance of 40 organizations (Scripture Union is one of these organizations) with a combined constituency of over 5 million volunteers and contributors, reaching 100’s of millions of people of all ages with Bible-related ministries each year. Through the Forum, like-minded organizations partner in planning and producing resources that enable more people to make the Bible and its life-changing message part of their lives. The North American Forum is affiliated with the Forum of Bible Agencies-International. The Canadian Bible Forum is affiliated with the North American Forum.

 


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How to Measure Bible Engagement

 

Since Bible engagement is crucial to the spiritual health and growth of individuals and communities (churches, schools, Bible agencies, ministries), it is helpful to understand “the conditions necessary for such growth to be sustained – to become permanent – and to continue” (Mark Forshaw, Global Scripture Impact).

Here’s how some key organisations/groups/agencies are measuring Bible engagement:

Barna Group – Collects data for the ABS State of the Bible study by using a four-part typology based on people’s view of and level of engagement with Scripture. A person is categorized/described as Bible engaged, Bible friendly, Bible neutral or Bible skeptic.

Biblica – Is initiating the development of a tool that will measure the Bible engagement elements of translation, access, literary form, reading holistically, context awareness, narrative understanding and story activation.

Canadian Bible Forum – A quantitative survey conducted by Angus Reid Strategies and a qualitative study conducted by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada to measure why Canadians do or do not connect with the Bible. Findings reported in the Canadian Bible Engagement Study.

Center for Bible Engagement – Uses surveys to gather data from individuals to measure life transformation levels of weekly Bible engagement. It goes beyond simply usage statistics to consider attitudes and behaviors that significantly impact spiritual growth and a person’s relationship with God.

Global Scripture Impact (American Bible Society) – Seeks to measure Bible engagement by measuring the behavioural signs of ‘willingness’, ‘understanding’, and ‘action’ as indicators of people moving toward spiritual maturity/embodying Christ.

LifeWay Research – Conducts quantitative and qualitative research utilising question samples from the Transformational Discipleship Assessment (TDA) and the Transformational Groups (TG) research projects.

REVEAL – Researches the role of Scripture engagement in catalyzing spiritual growth. A set of survey items is used to look at what motivates people to engage with Scripture and how people are affected by their exposure to Scripture.

Scripture Union Canada – Uses the quantitative Measure of Reading/Connecting with the Bible literacy gauge and a qualitative assessment of how people are connecting with, coming alive to, are investing in, being submitted to, are reliant on, are receiving from, and acting in line with Christ and His Word.

Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement – Conducts quantitative and qualitative research to measure frequency of interaction with the Bible, the extent to which a person has the Bible as a focal center in their spiritual life, the breadth of contexts whereby a person interacts with the Bible, kinds of interactions a person has with the Bible, and the views people have of the Bible. The tools used for the research are the Christian Life Survey, Christian Identity and Scripture Engagement Survey, Scripture Engagement Interviews, Scripture Engagement Field Interviews.

If you know about Bible engagement research that hasn’t been mentioned in this post, please share what you know.

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Bible Engagement Defined

Bible engagement defined by agencies, forums, societies, centers and research groups has many shades of meaning. Here are some definitions:

Scripture engagement is an identity-forming, learning experience, rooted in the Scriptures and practiced throughout the history of the church, involving the whole person, in which the Word of God, mediated in culture, restores, renews and equips people-in-community, enabling them to embody Christ authentically in the world as His agents of reconciliation and social transformation. American Bible Society

Scripture engagement is encountering God through the Bible to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ. American Bible Society

Bible engagement includes action, whether people are intentionally and frequently engaged in using Scripture (either reading or hearing it read) and attitude, whether people believe the Bible to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. Barna Group

An encounter with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit that is a motivated/inspired interaction with God’s Story that includes various media that involves an individual or communal activity/response/application that cultivates/results in transformation. Bible Research Summit (compilation of group definitions)

The Bible is well-engaged when a community: has access to a well-translated text in its natural literary forms, feasts on whole literary units read in context, understands the overall story and accepts the invitation to take up its own role in the great drama. Biblica

Bible engagement is the act of receiving what the Word of God has to say by reading or listening to the Bible, reflecting on the Scripture, and responding to the biblical truths in your daily life. Center for Bible Engagement, Back to the Bible

Scripture Engagement is encountering God’s Word in a life-changing way. Forum of Bible Agencies International

Bible engagement is peeling back the covers of God’s Word to discover the hopes and promises of the Bible and discovering what God has to say to you, no matter what your situation; that results in hearts changed, lives transformed and an unrelenting drive to be like Jesus to this broken world. Forum of Bible Agencies – North America

Bible engagement is allowing God, through His Word, to lead and change an individual’s life – one’s direction, thinking and actions. LifeWay Research

Scripture engagement is frequency of engagement in the spiritual practice of reflection on Scripture. REVEAL

Bible engagement is the process whereby people are connected with the Bible such that they have meaningful encounters with Jesus Christ and their lives are progressively transformed in Him. Scripture Union Canada

Bible engagement is the process of taking in and living out God’s Word for the purpose of knowing him better and experiencing him more. Scripture Union USA

Scripture engagement is a way of hearing and reading the Bible with an awareness that it is in the Scriptures that we primarily meet God. It is a marinating, mulling over, reflecting, dwelling on, pondering of the Scriptures, resulting in a transformative engagement with God. Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

Scripture engagement is interaction with the biblical text in a way that provides sufficient opportunity for the text to speak for itself by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling readers and listeners to hear the voice of God and discover for themselves the unique claim Jesus Christ is making upon them. Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

Scripture engagement is facilitating life-changing encounters with God through His Word. Wycliffe Scripture Engagement Forum

Please make a comment to share your definition of Bible engagement.

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Twenty Texts From The Bible About The Bible

What we may say about the Bible may have some value, but what the Bible says about itself is inestimably valuable.

So here are twenty texts from the Bible about the Bible:

It is God-breathed

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

It is eternal

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:160

It stands firm

Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Psalm 119:89

It is flawless

Every word of God is flawless Proverbs 30:5

It is truth

… your word is truth. John 17:17

It is alive

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

It is a light

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

It is like fire

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

It is more precious than gold

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. Psalm 19:9-10

It is wonderful

Your statutes are wonderful Psalm 119:129

It gives understanding

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

It gives joy

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. Psalm 19:8

It combats sin

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

It is refreshing

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. Psalm 19:7

It is for your hearts and minds

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 11:18

It should be on your lips

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

It should be obeyed

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

It leads to blessing

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:25

It should have nothing added or taken away from it

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. Deuteronomy 12:32

It endures forever

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8

It will never pass away

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

Scripture Quotations: New International Version, 2011, Biblica

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Twenty Interesting Facts About The Bible

The Bible isn’t called the Book of books without just cause. Here are twenty interesting facts about the Bible:

  • The Bible is the world’s best-selling book of all time and the best-selling book of the year, every year! Fifty Bibles are sold every minute. It’s never shown on the best seller lists because it dwarfs the sales of all other books.
  • The Bible was written over the course of 1,500 years (beginning in about 1,400 B.C.) by more than 40 individuals, from many backgrounds (prophets, fishermen, kings, philosophers, scholars, poets), who lived in 10 different countries on three continents (Asia, Africa, Europe), writing in one of three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek) about God and His interaction with 2,930 different characters from more than 1,550 different places.
  • Worldwide, there are 80,000+ versions of the Bible with full Bibles in 530+ languages and portions of the Bible in about 2,900 languages. A full Bible translation in a person’s native/heart language is available for 70% of the world’s population. In whole or in part, the Bible is accessible to 98% of the world’s population in a language in which they are fluent. Bible translation continues to be a major undertaking by the United Bible SocietiesWycliffe and many other agencies.
  • After three years of constant printing, the 1454 Gutenberg Bible (Latin) was the first book to be printed on a movable metal type printing press (China invented woodblock printed books during the Tang Dynasty). Johannes Gutenberg, after whom the Bible is named, printed about 180 copies without any printing errors (major parts of 48 copies exist today).
  • There are about 900 printed English versions of the Bible (complete and incomplete translations and paraphrases). The first hand-written English manuscripts were written by John Wycliffe, translated from the Vulgate (Latin) in the 1380’s A.D. In 1525-1526 the Tyndale New Testament became the first printed English edition of the Scriptures (2 known copies exist today). The first English translation of the entire Bible was published by Miles Coverdale in 1535.
  • The King James Version (KJV) is the most popular English Bible (first edition published in 1611). The New International Version (NIV) is the second most popular English Bible (New Testament first published in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978). Worldwide, the NIV outranks the KJV as the best-selling Bible translation.
  • The least popular Bible is the Coptic translation of the New Testament by David Wilkins. Since 1791 when it was first published, it has never sold more than 2 copies a year.
  • The 1631 edition of the KJV was named the Wicked Bible because the word “not” was omitted from Exodus 20:14. This changed the 7th Commandment to, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” When the error was discovered the copies were recalled and destroyed (11 copies exist today). The 1716 edition of the KJV was named the Sin On Bible because the printer accidentally inverted the ‘n’ and the ‘o’ in ‘on’ of John 8:11, so it read, “Go and sin on more”.
  • Between 1815 and 1975 an estimated 2.5 billion Bibles were distributed with more than 100 million new Bibles printed every year since, making a staggering total of 7.5 billion in print (one copy for every person!).
  • The Gideons, founded in 1899, distribute about one million Bibles, free of charge, every week (about two copies every second). By 2015 the Gideons will have placed 2 billion Bibles and New Testaments in schools, hotels, prisons, hospitals and among the military.
  • Sadly, for merchants, in some cities in the USA, the most shoplifted book is the Bible! Happily, for the Gideons, thousands of their Bibles are stolen from hotels!
  • The usage of online Bibles continues to increase. In 2014 Bible Gateway had 1.5 billion page views by more than 150 million unique visitors. The YouVersion Bible App offers more than 1,000 translations of the Bible and has been downloaded more than 150 million times. The Bible.is App offers the Bible in full or in part in more than 1600 languages.
  • Surprisingly, the largest Bible factory in the world is a Communist government sanctioned NGO – the Amity Bible Printing Company in Nanjing, China. An atheist, Trevor McKendrick, makes $100K a year selling a Spanish Bible App!
  • It takes 70 hours to read the whole Bible aloud (at “pulpit rate”). Reading the Bible silently with an average reading speed of 250-300 words a minute takes 54 hours. People who can read 800 words a minute can read the Bible in a day. If you’re short on time, read Philemon, it only takes a minute!
  • There are hundreds of Bibles purposed for hundreds of niche markets. The Way features psychedelic lettering, Revolve looks like a girls glossy magazine, and Divine Health has comments from Don Colbert, the author of What Would Jesus Eat. The Outdoor Bible is printed on plastic sheets that fold up like maps, Psalty’s Kids Bible features Psalty the Singing Songbook, and the Soul Surfer Bible has notes by Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her arm to a shark.
  • The 2011 St. John’s Bible produced by British calligrapher Donald Jackson and a team of calligraphers is the first hand-written hand-illuminated Bible since the invention of the printing press. It cost $8 million and took 12 years to complete.
  • The smallest Bible in the world is the New Testament Jerusalem Nano Bible, a chip measuring 4.76 mm. It can only be read with a microscope because each letter is 18 millionths of a metre wide!
  • The Devils Bible (Codex Gigas – English for Giant Book), so named because of a large illustration of the devil, is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world. It weighs 78.4 kg (165 lb), is 92 cm (36 in) tall and is allegedly made from the skins of 160 donkeys.
  • The largest Bible in the world is the 1930 Waynai Bible (pictured). It weighs 496 kg (1094 lb), is 110.49 cm (43.5 in) tall, and 248.92 cm (98 in) wide. For moving purposes it can be disassembled into 31 sections.
  • There are many fascinating details in the Bible – like the man who walked around naked for three years (cf. Isaiah 20:2-3), a bed that was 4.1 m (13.5 ft) long and 1.8 m (6 ft) wide (cf. Deuteronomy 3:11), a man’s hair that weighed 2.83 kg (6.25 lb) when it was cut every year (cf. 2 Samuel 14:26), and, there’s no mention of the domestic cat (sheep are the most frequently mentioned animals).

And a bonus short animation from the Digital Bible Society that charts the history of the spoken and written Word of God from tablets to digital:

.

Please share additional interesting facts about the Bible …

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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World Bloggers’ Day

HAPPY WORLD BLOGGERS’ DAY!

Here are seven scriptures to inform and inspire writers of posts/blogs:

Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Job 19:23 (ESV)

“Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. Do what I say and you’ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it! Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart. Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion” Proverbs 7:2-4 (Msg)

“You yourselves are our letter. You are written on our hearts. Everyone knows you and reads you” 2 Corinthians 3:2 (NIrV)

“Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect” 1 Peter 3:15 (NLV)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NIV)

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart” Proverbs 3:3 (NLT)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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State of the Bible in the USA

Weekly Bible reading is more likely among women, African-Americans, Southerners, and people from lower income households, than among men, Millenials, or people from the North East. This according to the State of the Bible 2015 report from the American Bible Society.

Some highlights from the report:

  • Four out of five Americans consider the Bible sacred or holy
  • 52% of adults describe the Bible as “inspired”
  • Most Americans believe everyone in the world should be free to own and read a Bible
  • Nine out of ten American homes have a Bible
  • 52% of adults read the Bible three to four times a year
  • Bible readers, on average, spend thirty minutes reading the Bible at each sitting
  • The most popular version of the Bible is the King James Version
  • 60% of Bible readers read the Bible to come closer to God
  • Bible reading increases when people realise how important it is for their faith journey
  • Busyness is the primary reason why people don’t read the Bible
  • Most Bible readers say their reading evokes feelings of peace, hope and being encouraged
  • Weekly Bible readers give a lot of thought to how the Bible applies to their lives
  • Printed Bibles are the preferred format for Bible reading
  • 50% of Bible readers use digital formats to read Bible content
  • Four out of ten adults believe the main message of the Bible is “God is love”
  • Americans believe the Bible strongly encourages forgiveness, generosity and serving the poor
  • Americans believe the Bible strongly discourages prostitution, homosexuality and pornography
  • One in three Americans believe morality is declining because Bible reading is declining
  • Donations to non-profit organizations increases with increased Bible reading

 

Download the full report: State of the Bible 2015

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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The All-Consuming Concern Of Engaging Canadians With The Bible

Despite our high view of Scripture, Evangelicals are trending away from reading and reflecting on God’s Word. That may be an issue for some, but for Scripture Union, it’s an all-consuming concern.

Scripture Union’s mission is to connect Canadians with Jesus and His Story. logo2TheStory-250-e1364843137630That’s what we endeavour to do, every day of every year. But with fewer and fewer people engaging with the Bible it’s increasingly more challenging to invite people to immerse their stories in God’s Story.

So the question is, what do we do? How do we help people find their way into the Word? And how do we help the Church find its way out of the present decline in Bible engagement? These, and many other related questions, weigh heavily on our hearts and minds.

There are no easy answers and no quick fixes for the decline in Bible engagement. But we’re learning things that may contain their own seed, their own lessons for how we might help people engage with the Bible.

One obvious lesson we’ve learned is that the decline in Bible engagement isn’t just a Bible agency problem. It’s a problem for the whole Christian community. We all suffer, all struggle, all experience loss when we drift away from the Word.

Another lesson we’ve learned is that we’re better together. It’s going to take all of us, united in purpose, to deal with the decline in Bible engagement. Going it alone is not an option. Each one of us has to play a part. Collaborations and partnerships are crucial for success.

These two lessons, in part, informed the birth and development of theStory™ – a free online Bible reading guide in French and English. (A Bible reading guide is different to a Bible reading plan. A Bible reading guide provides textual commentary, teaching, insight and reflection).

Everything about theStory™ smacks of community and collaboration. The writers of theStory™ are some of Canada’s leading evangelical teachers, preachers, communicators, and authors. They come from different denominations, different provinces, and different walks of life. While they are different, they have a common objective – to help individuals and communities engage with God’s Word.

Partnerships power theStory™. Ligue pour la lecture de la Bible does the translation of the writers reflections, the Canadian Bible Society provides the online Scriptures, and Deeks Insurance are the sponsors.

All told, theStory™ is a wonderful testament to how Bible engagement can be advanced when we work together. It takes more than 120 writers, translators, editors, copy editors and administrators to publish the daily posts. The outcome? Since May 2013, when the first post was published, there have been more than 150, 000 distinct downloads. People from every province and territory are reading the Scriptures, reflecting on the texts, and responding in prayer.

While theStory™ is only one of many good Bible reading guides, it’s unique because it’s a great expression of Canadian Evangelical unity.

Who would have thought that Pentecostals and Plymouth Brethren could have back-to-back reflections on the Scriptures in the same publication. Amazingly, the Calvinists, Arminians, Charismatics, Wesleyans and other writers all collaborate. How do they do it? They choose to be kingdom minded. They agreed to avoid discussion of contentious or divisive theological issues and refrain from taking sides on issues over which Christians legitimately disagree … and that’s the spirit that may help people trend back to reading and reflecting on God’s Word.

Faith Today Blog, March 27, 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5