“Year of the Bible”

In Austria, France, Germany, and Switzerland, the year 2003 has been designated the “Year of the Bible.” The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung states: “As with the first and last time it was celebrated in 1992, [the churches] are aiming to heighten people’s awareness of this ‘book of life’ and to emphasize the cultural value of the Holy Scriptures.”

According to Bibelreport of June 2002, the Bible has been translated into 2,287 languages​—at least in part. Estimates also show that so far, some five billion Bibles have been distributed. Such mammoth efforts clearly show what high regard people have for this book.

Today, most people may not be convinced that the Bible is practical. Indeed, many feel that the standards in the Bible are old-fashioned and out of touch with reality. With the Year of the Bible, however, churches in Germany hope to achieve two things​—encourage people to live more closely by the Bible and whip up enthusiasm for the Bible in those who are alienated from the church.

Reading the Bible from beginning to end is no small achievement, but it certainly is a good way to grasp the main points of the Scriptures. A person who wants to benefit most from the Bible, however, ought to keep in mind the statement at 2 Timothy 3:16, 17: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”

German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) made this expression: “I am convinced that the Bible becomes even more beautiful the more one understands it.” Indeed, only in God’s Word do we find a sound explanation of where we come from, why we are here, and what the future will bring!​—Isaiah 46:9, 10.

[Picture Credit Line on page 31]

From the book Bildersaal deutscher Geschichte