Today is Bible Sunday – when we reflect on how God reveals himself to us through scripture.
If you haven’t read much of the Bible, then why not give it a try? Perhaps start with a gospel – one of the accounts of Jesus’s life contained in the New Testament.
When I was a child I loved the Old Testament stories like David and Goliath and Daniel in the lions’ den – here’s a pic of me with my very first Bible... But I stopped reading the bible in my twenties and was only drawn back to it one day when I sat down and read Mathew’s gospel.
The Bible is not one big book that needs to be read from cover to cover. It’s a collection of 66 books – so don’t feel you have to start at the beginning. You can really start anywhere.
And the wonderful thing about the Bible is that – despite the many difficult passages it contains – God does continue to speak very powerfully to us through these books.
So, to whet your appetite – and to celebrate Bible Sunday - here are seven amazing facts about the Bible:
1. The Bible was written on three continents
Most of the Bible was written in what is modern-day Israel (Asia). But some passages of Jeremiah were written in Egypt (Africa) and several New Testament epistles were written from cities in Europe.
2.The Sinners’ Bible
In 1631, a publishing company published a Bible omitting the word ‘not’ in the Seventh Commandment - so that it read, “Thou Shalt Commit Adultery.” Only nine of these Bibles, known as the “Sinners’ Bible,” exist today.
3.Animals of the Bible
Did you know that dogs are mentioned fourteen times in the Bible, lions are mentioned 55 times and even unicorns get a mention in Isaiah. But there are no references to cats – sadly.
The longest word in the Bible is ‘Pelejoezelgibborabiadsarshalom ’ – a name given to a child meaning ‘Wonderful in counsel is God the mighty, the Everlasting Father, the Ruler of Peace’ (in Isaiah 9.6.) Let’s hope I never have to baptise a child with that name!
5.The oldest man
The oldest man in the Bible is 'Methuselah' who is said to have lived to be 969 years old.
There are many phrases that are repeated in the Bible. The phrase 'Do not be afraid' can be found 365 times – a different verse for every day of the year. Do you think God might be trying to tell us something?
7.The last word
The last word in the Bible is Amen. A Hebrew word meaning ‘So be it.’ A good way to end this amazing book of books.
Happy Bible Sunday!