Celebrate the world’s most read book
The Bible Society Australia (BSA) is using its 200th birthday to stage a national service that will look to celebrate not just the organisation but the world’s most read book – the Bible.
The national celebration will take place on Sunday 5th March, 2017 at the Hillsong Main Auditorium in Sydney. Church groups of every denomination are encouraged to stream the event as a lighthouse church.
BSA is Australia’s longest living organisation that was created by community leaders Governor and Lady Macquarie 1817. Ahead of its Bicentenary on 7th March 2017, Bible Society remains the oldest continually operating organisation in our nation’s history. The only change is the name. In 2010, the Bible Societies in each state merged into a single organisation, Bible Society Australia (BSA).
It’s still involved in the translation, publishing, and distribution of the Bible. The organisation also aims to engage people with what it calls the Good Book, using both traditional and the latest media.
BSA CEO, Dr Greg Clarke, said for the organisation it not just about providing Bibles but looking to help engage people with the word and provide answers to their biblical questions.
“We’re celebrating our 200 years of sharing the Bible by doing more of what supporters want us to do – championing the Bible worldwide, from prisons in Australia to churches in China,” said Dr Clarke.
In our increasingly secular society, the Bible remains the world’s best-selling book with more than five billion copies printed.
But is it still relevant to Australians?
BSA stated the good book is foundational to our human rights and legal system. According to Human Rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC, the philosophic basis of the right to human dignity is the parable of the good Samaritan.
Our charities also reflect the well-known parable. Of the 30 largest charities in Australia, 26 are faith-based. They argue that Bible readers are more likely to volunteer to help others. The values that Australians cherish also stem from the Bible.
A common ANZAC statement is from John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.
For BSA this verse captures our national vision for humility, sacrifice and friendship between equals. Following Arthur Stace’s one word campaign “eternity” is a Bible word most Australians would recognise. Christians believe it’s the message of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ and a love that will last forever. Eternity is also the title of Bible Society’s news service which reaches hundreds of thousands of people via newspaper and digitally.
“Over the past 200 years, the Bible has done Australia a lot of good,” said Dr Clarke.
Dr Clarke also said the work will continue both here and throughout the world, and added that “the Good Book really is here for good”.
For more details of the national celebration service event click here.
John Pearson is the National Media & Communications Manager of the Bible Society Australia.