Somewhere around 2012, I came to an inconvenient conclusion: I didn’t love the Bible.
While this might seem normal for most of humanity, it was inconvenient for me, as I was a 30-year-old preacher and evangelist!
Don’t get me wrong, I was in the Bible often to prepare sermons, but I was rarely in it myself. Turning those crinkled pages felt more like a chore than a joy. Even in my times using Bible apps like YouVersion, I found myself drawn more to devotional content than to Scripture.
Two years later, I was in the back of a New York City cab, talking about the Bible with one of my heroes, Francis Chan. I admired him for his passion and conviction, and that day in the cab I felt stirred as he discussed this book that had so evidently marked his life. I found myself longing for God’s presence in the ways he described! That day, Francis shared a dream to see people around the world get in the Bible together.
“So many problems in the church today wouldn’t be there if people just read and fell in love with the Bible for themselves,” he said. “What would happen if we all used our influence to help people experience a Year of the Bible?”
The seeds of #YearOfTheBible were planted that day. The campaign launched this January, and already people have joined in from over 100 countries.
Most of us have been taught to love good communicators and good worship music, but we have never learned to love the Bible for ourselves. In America, there are countless Bibles sitting in hotel drawers and on the shelves in our homes, waiting for someone to be inspired by the power inside.
Imagine what would happen if people around the world looked to God’s Word once again — this is the vision of #YearOfTheBible.
In the days of King Josiah, the Hebrew Scriptures were lost for an entire generation in the temple. Then one day, the king discovered the Word of God. He gathered all the people and read the Scriptures aloud. He was so moved by God’s Word that he immediately renewed Israel’s covenant with God.
When I realized I didn’t love the Bible, I started pleading with God to help me hear and love His Word. And it changed me. It is changing me. When we let the Bible speak, we discover that the Bible isn’t boring. It’s revolutionary.
The goal of #YearOfTheBible is to draw as many people as possible to the most influential and misunderstood book in history, a book that has inspired more art, beauty, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation and change than any other.
So, how do you or your church get involved?
We are asking people to declare their commitment to start something called #YourYear. Rather than Year of the Bible being focused from January to December 2020, we are asking people to consider taking a year of their life to focus on the Word of God. Our message is that #YourYear starts when you do. Step one is to share your intention on social media with a picture of yourself, your Bible and the hashtag #YearOfTheBible.
One thing I realized when I finally woke up to the power of God’s Word was that there are incredible resources available to help us engage and understand it.
The Move Closer app is great to get in the Word and learn about biblical discipleship with a few friends. Streetlights is a dynamic app that combines hip hop beats with almost every book of the New Testament. The Bible Project has created mind-blowing videos summarizing every book of the Bible. Spoken Gospel has created spoken word videos helping us understand doctrine and book overview, and The Bible Recap has a daily podcast that serves as a personal guide through a chronological Bible reading plan.
We’ve placed all these resources, and some of our favorite plans at YearOfTheBible.com. We’ve also launched a plan called Together in Scripture in the Bible app. So dive in!
We believe that millions will be inspired by God’s Word this year, so we are asking people to create and gather around the Bible throughout 2020. We expect songs, poetry, art, film, and design birthed through the Word of God and are planning a massive tribute to the Bible on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on June 20 for Together 2020, where we will showcase this inspiration. At Together 2020, artists such as Hillsong Young & Free and Lecrae will stand with people from around the globe for the largest celebration of the Bible in history.
It’s time for a Bible revival. This is #YearOfTheBible.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Digital Skillet
Nick Hall is the visionary of the Together movement, author of Reset, and the founder of PULSE, a ministry at the center of the largest millennial-led prayer and outreach efforts in the world. He is the president and CEO of The Table Coalition and sits on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. Follow him @NickHall.