[See our previous blogpost, A Summary of Recent Bible Reading Surveys]
According to multiple surveys and its bestselling status decade after decade, the Bible is widely revered by people around the world. Millions of visitors from more than 200 countries regularly come to Bible Gateway to freely read, hear, search, study, compare, & share the Bible in more than 70 languages & more than 200 Bible versions. Millions more have downloaded the Bible Gateway App to keep Scripture with them on their smartphones and tablets wherever they go. Now a special day has been declared for everyone globally to share their favorite Bible verses by time zone hour after hour following the movement of the sun.
[See our blogpost, Share Your Favorite Bible Verse on International Day of the Bible]
Bible Gateway interviewed Richard Glickstein (@NationalBible), president of National Bible Association, about its upcoming International Day of the Bible (@IntlDayofBible), in which Bible Gateway is a partner.
Describe the event you’ve planned for November 24, 2014. [Update: in 2017 the date is November 12]
Richard Glickstein: On Monday, 11/24/2014, at noon (in their local time zone), people around the world will gather in small groups and large to publicly read the Bible without commentary, and use the hashtag #BibleCelebration for posting online comments, videos, photos and creative expressions through their social networks.
We’re encouraging everyone from faith groups to performing artists, as well as business, sports, community, and religious leaders to participate and share their appreciation for the Bible. We’re hoping for creativity, such as breaking into a flash mob, singing and dancing Scripture, painting or drawing a picture with a few lines of verses, or capturing God’s creations in photos—selfies included—and sharing them along with a beloved Psalm. More information is available in our news release.
Why have you organized this international celebration of the Bible?
Richard Glickstein: Eighteen years ago, I was in Jerusalem for Pentecost (Shavuot in Hebrew) and I went to the Wailing Wall in the Old City at 6 a.m. As I approached the Dung Gate, I heard the sound of thousands and thousands of people celebrating. I found out that they had been there all night thanking God for the scriptures, many of them dancing with Torah Scrolls. Jews believe that Shavuot is the day that God gave Moses the Law at Sinai.
Right then, I decided that I wanted to celebrate God’s Word with Christians. That was the moment the seed was planted within me to create the International Day of the Bible. Public Bible reading is scriptural; see Nehemiah 8:1-12 & 1 Timothy 4:13.
This is a very simple act of faithfulness and honor to God about His word. God’s word is meant to encourage us and bring us personal hope, but it is also meant to bring us together to realize that this is such a great gift and trust that He can change our world through it. The words of God changed my life and continues to. It’s not our event; we hope it’s an event for the body of Christ and that those who love God, come together and thank Him.
Why have you named Oklahoma City, OK the National Bible City for 2014?
Richard Glickstein: Each year our trustees choose a large American city in which to encourage Bible reading. With two great Bible-centered organizations in Oklahoma City that we interact with—Steve Green’s Bible Museum and YouVersion—it was a very easy call.
What do you recommend churches can do to elevate the practice of Bible reading among their congregants?
Richard Glickstein: First, the senior pastor has to live in it and keep it flowing out of him. He should fill his sermons with it. And if possible, quote it during the sermons and in all his church interactions.
Vision is a “contagious disease.” When you have it you can give it to others.
I remember the message by a ministry leader who stood up in a small meeting and asked how many minutes he had. Without notes, he intermittently quoted the Word throughout his talk and quit at the allotted time. I was hooked!
From your vantage point, characterize the influence of the Bible in cultures around the world.
Richard Glickstein: I will answer this in a narrow sense, dealing with only a couple of illustrations.
1. The Bible has done more for the emancipation and elevation of women in world culture than any other movement, person, or philosophy in history (1 Timothy 3:2—monogamy; 1 Corinthians 11:11-12—equality before God).
2. The Bible was the catalyst for the world changing idea of “freedom of religion.” William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, read in Matthew 7:12, the Golden Rule, and decided that people of all faiths should be allowed to reside in the colony.
How do you respond to critics who say the Bible should not have civic endorsement?
Richard Glickstein: I would quote George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
What would you like to see happen in the lives of people who participate in the International Day of the Bible?
Richard Glickstein: That the Bible brings us together as believers in God.
That a greater spark is ignited within us to be like King David: “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97.
That God would see our loving and simple act of thankfulness for his word and honor our nations, “But now the LORD declares: I promise that I will honor those who honor me,” 1 Samuel 2:30.
Bio: Richard Glickstein has been the president of the National Bible Association since June of 2007. During his tenure, the John M. Templeton Biblical Values Award, an annual award for a nationally recognized business leader, has been added; as well as an annual award for a graduating senior from each of the service academies (West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy) to honor their commitment to biblically based character and leadership. He is married and has six children and two grandchildren.