The National Bible Association has celebrated National Bible Week during Thanksgiving week, since 1941, “to raise awareness of the Bible’s importance and relevance to our nation as a whole, as well as in the lives of individuals.” Given the anchor, friend and mentor it’s been for me, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to pay it special tribute.
Even though some groups are saying the Bible isn’t relevant today that has not been my experience. For a number of years, I’ve been volunteering with a Christian Science Bible Study at Juvenile Detention facilities. My goal is for these teens behind bars to form a relationship with the Bible, to find peace, answers and recognize that spiritual intuition we all have and follow it. Here are a few samples of the transformative, healing power of the Bible in the lives of these incarcerated teens:
- One 17 yr old told of some days reading 100 pages a day in the Bible. He then reminded us of how last week he was having such difficulty with uncontrolled rage and dealing with his parents. The rage, if it comes, is much less now and he finds that reading the Bible dissipates it. His parents came for a visit. “It is much better with them now. Everyone says that I’ve really changed since being here, and I have.”
- Another young man said of his study of the Bible, “Even the guards tell me I’ve changed. I used to get really upset about anything. Now I hear a voice in my mind that tells me when I’m doing something wrong. So I stop doing it, because I want to listen to God. I’ll calm right down – the anger just goes away. You gotta read the Bible every day, keep praying, that is how to get past these bad times.”
- One student told me he had found God, a faith that he would carry with him always. He had found the Bible. A terrible weight has been lifted off his chest and he has a new sense of purpose, a completely different view of life than when he first arrived for detention. He had become a model inmate and was offered a summer job as well as admission at a local college upon leaving the facility.
In a season of gratitude, it makes sense to me that the National Bible Association has chosen this week to commemorate the contemporary relevancy of the Bible.