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The practice of reading holy scriptures and texts spans across many of the world’s religions, including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and many others. And the Bible is the sacred text that is referred to and used by Christians, whether considered to be Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant. 

As the oldest and most read book in the world, the Bible brings with it a great deal of history, poetry, culture, letters and stories. Believed to have been written over a span of at least 1500 years and authored by at least 40 different people, this book is more than one book – it really could be considered a library of 66 books!

With millions of copies printed each year, the Bible offers many compelling reasons for it to be read, and National Bible Sunday seems like a great time to do it.

History of National Bible Sunday

People have been studying the Bible for many hundreds and even thousands of years, in some form or another. In fact, Jesus was the main character toward the end of the Bible, and he is even shown reading and studying parts of the Bible that came from his own ancestors.

As paper and writing supplies became more prominent over the years, with more and more people becoming literate and educated throughout history, the practice of reading the Bible has grown along with it. National Bible Day is a time to celebrate this!

While many people may not be aware of this day, its history in the United States can be traced back more than 200 years. In fact, National Bible Sunday can claim 1815 as an influential date, when this holiday was declared by the fourth president of the United States, James Madison. His proclamation made this a day of thanksgiving and celebration for the blessings of the country, including liberty, peace and providence.

Originally celebrated on the first Sunday of the year, other presidents have also followed along with Madison’s idea for a day or week set aside in faith. It was revived in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln as National Bible Day. Lincoln called Americans to pray for peace and unity between the North and the South in the midst of the Civil War.

Later, in 1948, President Harry Truman took things further and proclaimed a National Bible Week, but it was scheduled at a different time of year, starting on the second Sunday of November. In 1953, President Eisenhower chose to make April 17 a National Bible Day and eventually, in 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared National Prayer Day to take place in May.

Today, the tradition of celebrating National Bible Sunday in January has been revived, but now it typically takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month.

How to Observe National Bible Sunday

Those who are interested in celebrating National Bible Sunday might want to consider some of these ideas for paying respect and honor to this day:

Read the Bible

Of course, since this is National Bible Sunday, it seems like the most logical thing to do would be to at least do a little reading from the Bible. Some people might think it is boring or strange, but others may find it fascinating and filled with stories of intrigue including political turmoil, war, murder, family drama and more.

But it also has a great deal of poetry, songs and other verses that encourage peace and tranquility, as well as life principles for those who are struggling. Some of the most famous stories are those in the New Testament that feature the life of Jesus and the various miracles he performed.

Consider Different Bible Translations

A rather amazing thing about this book is that it is available in a wide range of translations and styles. Whereas even just several decades ago the Bible could be a difficult read with only antiquated or outdated translations, today there are dozens of different versions that have been translated from the original languages into English. In fact, more than 100 versions are available in English, more than 700 complete versions in other languages, and portions of the Bible can be found in over 2800 additional languages.

Learn Interesting Facts About the Bible

As the oldest book (or collection of books) in the world, the Bible is sure to have a number of unique facts surrounding it. Whether a person of faith or a fan of historical literature, National Bible Sunday brings about some interesting opportunities for education and research, as well as for those who are more religious to practice this portion of their faith. Some people have even played entire games of trivia with facts based solely on the Bible!

Check out some of these facts related to this book:

  • The original texts of the Bible were written in three common languages from the periods in which they were written: Hebrew (most of the Old Testament), Aramaic (small parts of the Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).

  • Writers of the Bible penned it on three different continents. Most of it took place in Asia, in what is modern-day Israel. Other parts were written in Egypt (Africa) and some of the letters were written in Europe.

  • The first five books of the Bible coincide with Judaism, where they are called the Torah, and these are believed to have been written by Moses.

  • No original versions of the Bible still exist today. Instead, the texts have been written and rewritten so that they could be preserved over thousands of years.

Join a Bible Reading Group

Some people have found that reading the Bible on their own can be harder than reading it with others. Grabbing a few friends and starting to read together might be a good way to participate in National Bible Sunday. It may be that a local church offers various opportunities throughout the week to read the Bible in a group, and this type of information can often be found on a church’s website or by contacting a local priest, pastor or other clergy.

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