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Monday is National Day of the Bible, which kicks off the celebration of National Bible Week. Every year during Thanksgiving week, people all across the United States commemorate God’s Word with concerts, public readings, and special contests. And if you’re lucky enough to be in Chicago this week, you’re in 2012’s official “Bible city.”
In 1940, with war raging in Europe, a group of business people created National Bible Week in an effort to bring hope to the country by turning to the Bible, a proven source of comfort throughout history. Interestingly, the first Bible-reading radio broadcast was interrupted by news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The readings continued at the request of the NBC radio network leading millions in prayer between news reports.
National Bible Week has continued as an annual tradition ever since, encouraging everyone to read the Bible, whether it’s Christians bolstering their faith or simply others who want to understand a different worldview.
Obviously, the Bible has been a significant part of our national history, and it’s rooted in thousands of years of history of its own. But even with that history, many have wondered about its future. Will this generation cast aside the Bible, or could it become the most engaged generation in history?
I believe we’re witnessing something that only happens every few centuries…the revolution of the Bible transitioning into the future. What traditionally been known as the Good Book is becoming available in a new way. Today, over 70 million people see the Bible as an app on the phone that intersects their everyday life. And it’s not just sitting there unopened. Since we launched the free YouVersion Bible App four years ago, we’ve seen people use the app to spend more than 35 billion minutes in Scripture.
Sometimes traditions can grow hollow over time and become more about the tradition itself than the meaning behind it. What’s personally encouraging to me is to see how the Bible continues to connect with people of all ages.
On National Day of the Bible, we’re not observing a hollow ritual, but a celebration of God’s Word—something I believe our children and grandchildren will continue to celebrate for decades and centuries to come.