Colorado Springs, CO (PRWEB) January 30, 2013
It’s the best-selling book of all-time; in fact, it’s the bestselling book every year. It has sold more copies than Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight—combined. The problem is not how many Bibles have been sold; it is how many are actually being read.
In a single generation, 1 in 4 Bible readers have stopped opening the Scriptures. Even many churchgoers read the Bible infrequently, if at all. But hunger for God’s Word remains strong. 60% of American adults say they wish they read the Bible more often.*
Having spent the last several years studying how people engage the Bible, Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society) believes part of the problem is the way we read. Most people read the Bible in fragments, and most read it by themselves. Yet, the Bible was not originally a collection of chapter and verse numbers but whole books that were meant to be read in their entirety. The Bible was originally addressed not just to individuals, but to communities. In order for people to get the full impact of the Bible, they need to read it in a different way.
“We started by designing a different kind of Bible—one that presses the ‘undo’ button on much of formatting that’s been added to Scripture over the years,” said Paul Caminiti, Vice President of Bible Engagement for Biblica. “We have given the Bible an un-makeover, making it easier to read.”
The result is The Books of the Bible, complete without chapter and verse numbers, cross references, or study notes. The natural section breaks were restored within each book and the books have been arranged in a more natural order. (For example, instead of arranging Paul’s letters from the longest to shortest—as they are in most Bibles—they appear in chronological order.) Introductions are included that reveal the context and literary structure of each book.
The Books of the Bible is meant to be read from beginning to end.
Biblica believes that better Bible reading doesn’t end with another Bible product. The Bible should be experienced how it was originally meant to be experienced—as a group.
Community Bible Experience was formed out of this belief. For approximately eight weeks, a whole church reads a section of Scripture (starting with the New Testament) from beginning to end, using The Books of the Bible. Participants share the experience with one another in small groups that are deliberately designed like a book club as opposed to a traditional Bible study group.
“This experience isn’t about mining all the right answers from Scripture,” said Caminiti, “it’s about helping people experience God’s Word on its own terms. It’s about whole communities immersing themselves in God’s story.”
Community Bible Experience has been used by an estimated 80,000-100,000 people to date, both nationally and internationally, and is already generating powerful stories of transformation—new believers reading the New Testament for the first time, entire youth groups rallying around the Bible, and some of the largest churches in the country reaching out to the surrounding community through Scripture.
The results are clear. In one church where only half the congregation opened the Bible more than once a week, regular Bible reading increased to 90% during their Community Bible Experience.
“This Bible is not just a book, it’s a shared experience,” said Caminiti. “We are thrilled that Community Bible Experience is touching so many lives and people are engaging with the Bible more and more.”
*2012 State of the Bible report from the Barna Group
Celebrating more than 200 years in ministry, Biblica provides God’s Word to people through Bible translation, Bible publishing, and Bible engagement. Biblica’s ministry extends worldwide, with outreach in Africa, East Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and South Asia. Biblica has translated the Bible in more than 100 languages and is the translation sponsor and publisher of the New International Version® (NIV®) Bible, the world’s leading contemporary English translation. Easier to understand, engaging you with the rich meaning of the original text. Most read. Most trusted. Through its worldwide reach, Biblica engages people with God’s Word so that their lives are transformed through a relationship with Jesus Christ.