Bible Engagement Blog: JumpIntoTheWord

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International Day of the Bible

International-Day-of-the-Bible-Info-1

Celebrate the Bible! Today is the International Day of the Bible. You are invited to take a few minutes to share with others, face to face or screen to screen, how much the Bible means in your life.

You can read, sing, act out, draw, paint, organize a flash mob, or do whatever you like to creatively express your love for the Word of God. Do you have a favorite psalm or proverb? Or a life verse or special passage? Or a biblical text that’s carried you through tough times? Share the Scriptures with your friends and family. Let the world know how much the Bible means in your life.

The International Day of the Bible is sponsored by The National Bible Association. Organizations like The American Bible Society, YouVersion, Bible Gateway, Scripture Union, and Bibles for the World are encouraging participation within their own communities.

Use the links below to share and connect:

Hashtag: #BibleCelebration
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IntlDayofBible (@IntlDayofBible)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/internationaldayofthebible
Instagram: @IntlDayofBible
Website: www.internationaldayofthebible.com

 

© 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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Ten Things You Can Do To Improve Your Engagement With The Bible

To know God and be godly, we must know God’s Word intimately.

Here are ten things you can do to improve your engagement with the Bible:

Use reading plans. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Benjamin Franklin. Check out Bible Gateway for a great selection of reading plans. If you want to read through the New Testament in a year, try the free 5/52 Reading Plan from SGM Canada.

Use reading guides. Informed commentary that helps you explore the wonders of the Word and apply it to life are invaluable. If you want to grow in godliness and intimacy with God, try the Scripture Union printed or online Bible reading guides for all ages.

Join a Bible study group. We need the help of others to better see and hear from God’s Word. Bible study with a group of like-minded believers will strengthen and enhance your Bible engagement.

Listen to expository Bible preaching. There are pastors, teachers and authors who you can learn from. Sites like Sermon Index provide a great selection of audio sermons by gifted speakers.

Take notes/journal. Writing down what you’re learning about God and yourself helps formulate your thinking, clarify the fuzzy, and aid your memory.

Slow it down. The Scriptures are best digested if we “eat them” slowly. Take your time. Masticate on each word. Listen for what God is saying. Enjoy the moment. Open your heart. Pause to pray.

Help others. A deeper level of Bible engagement comes when we help others engage with the Bible. Teach the Scriptures to your children, family, or friends and you’ll find that it “forces” you to go deeper in your own study of the Scriptures.

Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a transformed life doesn’t happen overnight. Changes in your attitude, outlook and behaviour happens indiscernibly over years of reading and re-reading the Bible.

Be realistic. Don’t expect to master the Bible in a month, a year, or a decade. There are depths to the Scriptures you will never plum, mysteries you will never understand, and contents that will leave you puzzled (cf. 2 Peter 3:16).

Be heavenly focused. Read the Bible until you can no longer read it, then when you close your eyes for the last time, know that you’ll open them to see the Word of God in the flesh!

Have your say. Add your suggestions by making a comment.

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5


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BG2

In December 2013 the jumpintotheword Bible engagement blog became part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. The Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is “an international network of independent bloggers” who are devoted to the Bible and committed “to spreading its message on the Internet”.

bg-blogger-badge-150x150Bible Gateway is an online site that provides users with free easy access to different versions and translations of the Bible. According to Jonathan Petersen, Bible Gateway Marketing Manager, Bible Gateway provides “information about the Bible and inspiration from the Bible” aiming “to help people worldwide engage the Bible (read it and live by its precepts and principles)”.

Check out the bloggers at #bgbg2

For more information about Bible Gateway:

Site: http://www.biblegateway.com
Blog: http://www.biblegateway.com/blog
Twitter: @BibleGateway @BibleGatewayApp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BibleGateway
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+BibleGateway
Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/BibleGateway
Mobile App: http://m.biblegateway.com/app


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Discipleship and Bible Engagement

What we say and what we do, don’t always seem to line up. While 66% of churchgoers say they want to “honour Jesus in all I do” only 11% read the Bible daily – this according to the October 2011 LifeWay Research, Transformational Discipleship Study, of more than 4,000 American and Canadian churchgoers (Evangelical and mainline English, French and Spanish Protestants).

Bible engagement should be intrinsic to being a disciple. “There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take his advice” C.S. Lewis. In order to learn from Christ and do what He commands, one has to read the Bible. “Faith is good only when it engages truth . . .” A. W. Tozer. Yet 34% of churchgoers rarely or never read the Bible outside of church and just 27% say they read it a few times a week or once a month.

How do we make disciples if people aren’t reading and reflecting on the Scriptures? Alarmingly, most churchgoers don’t feel bad about not connecting with the Bible. A whopping 62% say they don’t feel “unfulfilled” if they “go several days without reading the Bible”.

New Testament disciples were people who increasingly, and with growing intentionality, reflected the character and ministry of Christ. The first century disciples aligned their hearts and lives with Christ, over time looked more and more like Him, and most importantly, reproduced disciples who in turn learnt to be like Christ and do what He did.

In the Western church we seem to be content with calling a person a disciple if they pitch up to church, occasionally volunteer, put something in the offering plate, and do some good things . . . a far cry from the lives and ministries of the first century disciples.

LifeWay’s research reveals that only 3% of churchgoers do Bible study on a daily basis and 53% rarely or never study the Bible. This is hugely disconcerting. If Christians aren’t learning about the life of Christ, how can they become like Christ?

Something’s lost that needs to be found. Do we want to see disciples forged in the character of Christ, exercising the power/authority of Christ, and exuding the grace of Christ? If we do, then our first priority must be to equip and encourage churchgoers to regularly read and reflect on the Scriptures.

Recommended Bible reading resources:

  • Scripture Union: theStory™ – http://thestory.scriptureunion.ca/; E100 Challenge – http://www.e100challenge.ca/; Reading Guides for all ages – http://scriptureunion.ca/bible-guides
  • Bible Gateway: http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/

© Scripture Union Canada 2013


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Bible Engagement in a Digital Age

Technology writer, Richard Carr, suggests that books and book reading are in their “cultural twilight.” Some may disagree with Carr, but we can’t ignore the fact that innovation and change brought about by the digital revolution are reshaping the way people read.

In my lifetime I’ve moved from exclusively reading a printed page to reading text on a smart phone, laptop screen, e-reader or tablet. Cognitive neuroscientist, Maryanne Wolf, classifies this change as a shift from the reading brain to the digital brain. Like it or not, our new reading habits involve profound technological, cultural, behavioural, and even neurological changes.

Cellular phones, which increasingly provide Internet access, are now used by more than 75 percent of the world’s population. According to a June 2012 article in the Globe and Mail, Canadians are on track to achieving a wireless penetration rate that exceeds 100 percent by 2015. Hong Kong has surpassed this penetration rate – the Office of the Telecommunications Authority reports more than 13 million cell phones being used by the total population of 7.5 million people. That’s about 1.8 cell phones per person!

According to mathematician Vernor Vinge, and Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, we can expect the emergence of more and more sophisticated technologies separated by shorter and shorter time intervals. That to say that changes in the way we communicate and access information will continue to accelerate.

So how does the digital age influence Bible engagement? Consider the following:

  • the Bible is being read in multiple formats in an ever emerging variety of forms on a growing range of devices
  • availability and access to different Bible versions and translations are continuing to increase
  • greater access to audio Bibles and podcasts may help us become better “hearers” of the Word
  • sharing thoughts and insights about the Bible is increasing due to social networks like facebook and Linkedin
  • interactive software programs/systems, hypertext, blogs, posts and webinars uniquely facilitate biblical study and reflection
  • sharing favourite or meaningful verses is increasing due to texting and tweeting
  • the individual’s opportunity and capacity to understand and interpret the Scriptures will increase
  • missions could prosper because nations closed to the Gospel will find it more difficult to restrict the availability of biblical texts
  • the Scriptures are readily available in any language or translation to anyone on earth with a smart phone
  • Scripture memorization may decline because Google, Bible Gateway, You Version and such make it easy to look up a passage or text
  • people will become significantly less likely to buy printed copies of the Bible
  • reading Scripture within a contemplative framework may decline
  • sequential reading will decline due to the fact that reading on the web develops inclinations to skip around, dip and dabble, browse or scan information
  • tendencies to read the Bible in short fast bursts will increase
  • concentration and meditation on the Scriptures will suffer because of what Cory Doctorow has called “an ecosystem of interruption technologies” (animations, hyperlinks, live feeds, pop-ups and so on)
  • qualitative depth of reading will be sacrificed for reading geared to a quantitative scope
  • e-books may augment a predisposition to uncouple content from form which may lead to tendencies to view the Scriptures as something detached from their incarnational form – the textual equivalent of Cartesian dualism
  • the role of the local church in the transmission and interpretation of the Scriptures will decline

Without a doubt the positive and negative effects of the digital age represent a challenge for the Church. Hopefully we’ll do what’s necessary to curb the negative effect of technologies while simultaneously encouraging the use of emerging technologies that facilitate and advance engagement with the Bible.

Have your say. What would you add or subtract from the comments above.

© Scripture Union Canada 2013