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Why Read The Bible? – Part 11

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures that Jews and Christians consider to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans. Many different authors contributed to its stories and teaching.

Long ago, in this country only a Latin translation of the Bible was available to a few church scholars, priests, and monks. In 1604, after the deaths of both of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, King James authorised an English translation which was completed by 1611. This King James Bible, or Authorised Version, was the one used during my childhood. It was used in churches and schools and had a certain poetic flavour to its narrative.

Over the intervening years many other translations and new versions have been produced – far too many to list now. Here in Bilton Grange, we use the New International Version, but there are very many others and most of them have been translated into all the languages of the world. For those who are interested there is a website called Bible Gateway which has an extensive list and also allows you to find any passage you may be looking for. This is a very useful tool for study.

A quick look at the Waterstones website shows a whole raft of Bibles: standard versions, revised versions, study bibles, Bibles for Catholics and Bibles for Anglicans as well as big print versions.

Then these days there are also a lot more modern technical ways of telling the Biblical Story. For people who may not want to read it, there have been many films made. Hollywood has produced some “blockbusters” and there are dozens of DVDs available.

There are also versions of the Bible stories specially written and produced for teaching children and young people. I recently encountered Veggie Tales made by Big Idea Productions. The aim being to produce children’s videos for younger viewers which convey Christian moral themes and teach Biblical values and lessons.

Apart from the Bible itself, there are probably thousands of books that have been written with the aim of explaining its meaning. Many of them are well illustrated with drawings or photographs of the places mentioned.

The Bible’s stories, both from the Old and New Testaments, have been dramatised in plays and musicals and put into great works of art, both paintings and sculptures. The art galleries of the world are full of wonderful interpretations of what the Bible tells us.

At the end of the day though there is no better thing than to read it, either yourself or in a small group where discussion can take place. If you are looking for gifts to give this Christmas, why not look in the bookshops and present someone you love with a Bible.

Jo Turnbull

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