Although it is not a week that is widely recognized like others are, National Bible Week is gaining in popularity.
Since 1941, National Bible Week has been celebrated during Thanksgiving week. This year’s celebration was Nov. 18–25, with National Bible Day being celebrated Monday, Nov. 19, according to nationalbible.org.
The National Bible Association, which is responsible for National Bible Week, is a nonprofit, independent, educational association. It was established in 1940. Composed of business and professional leaders, the association’s focus is to encourage people to read the Bible in every sector of society, regardless of religious or political distinction.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of the Bible’s importance and relevance to our nation as a whole, as well as in the lives of individuals,” according to a statement on the association’s website. “Today, in the difficult economic times that many Americans are facing, the Bible can once again be that source of hope and encouragement.”
The Bible easily can be accessed in various translations and versions via the Internet, tablets and even on smartphones. In many churches, instead of a leather-covered or paperback Bible, attendees have their Bibles on electronic devices.
Pastors and members have their favorite translations or versions they enjoy reading. Many pastors use various translations or versions during their study time.
At Hinesville First United Methodist Church, members use the New International Version.
“This is the version we have in the pews; and I also use the New Revised Standard Version. We used the NRSV when I was in seminary,” church Pastor Richard Wright said.
He recommends the gospel of Matthew and the book of Romans for new converts.
“Matthew is the beginning of the New Testament, and Romans is the foundation for the Christian church,” Wright said.
Pastor Lucile W. Smiley of Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple uses the King James Version and the NIV.
“The King James version is my favorite,” she said.
Smiley recommended the gospel of John and the book of Romans for new converts.
“Romans gives you a little of everything,” she said.
Pastor C. L. Anderson of Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church in Allenhurst said the KJV is his favorite.
“I also use the Common English Version,” he said. “It breaks down the word and makes it very understandable. It uses everyday plain language.”
Anderson added that new converts need to study John, Romans and 1 Corinthians.
“While I have and use most of the well-known translations, I love and use the KJV the most because it is familiar and often very ‘poetic’ and ‘quotable.’ My second most-used translation is the NIV, because I believe it brings the original Hebrew and Greek text in to a vernacular I can understand,” said Pastor Hermon Scott of Baconton Missionary Baptist Church in Walthourville. “I have to add my third choice, The Message Bible, because this translation is written using a style and words that speak directly to ‘this present age.’”
Apostle Nick Law-Hines of the Ministries of Jesus Deliverance Outreach Center in Midway said his two favorites are the Good News and the NIV.
“The Good News breaks the Scripture down into everyday language,” he said. “The books I recommend for new converts are the gospel of John and Romans. The scripture in Romans 10:9 tells the converts what they must do to be saved.”
Pastor Tom Gardner of A New Beginnings Church in Ludowici cited the New American Standard and Contemporary English Version as his two favorites.
“The NASB is more in line with the true meaning of Scripture. It takes into account the culture of that time, history, time and place. It helps me more,” he said. “The Contemporary English Version is pretty good. It gives a little more detail and descriptive meaning of the word.”
Edith Anderson is the author of “Dare to Soar” and “Lack of Knowledge.”