Local churches will join others throughout the United States in observing National Bible Week this month.
While press releases from the Laymen's National Bible Committee announced that the 48th annual observance of National Bible Week will be held from Nov. 20-27, some churches have chosen to hold their observances during other weeks.The Central Salt Lake City Council of Churches, an association of 14 downtown churches representing Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic traditions, has selected Nov. 13-19 to observe National Bible Week.
They will hold an ecumenical prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 174 E. Ninth South. Combining scripture, song and prayer, this service will celebrate the role of the Bible in uniting all Christian traditions. The Rev. Donald Baird, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, will preach on "Jesus in the Gospels."
Council leaders suggested that each reader of the Bible should choose a translation that meets his purpose. If the goal is to understand the central points, Today's English Version or the New International Version would be a good choice. If, however, the purpose is to examine biblical passages in detail, one of the translations from the original languages would be of greater value.
They said recent Catholic and Protestant versions - such as the Jerusalem Bible, the New American Bible, the Revised Standard Version, New King James Version and the New International Version - have all been translated from the original biblical languages and yet benefited from better Greek manuscripts discovered since original translations were published.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement in the Nov. 5 "Church News" supporting the observance. Part of it read, "We heartily endorse efforts to promote a national focus on the scriptures during the week of Nov. 20-27. . . . We encourage regular reading, pondering and understanding of the Bible."
The Laymen's National Bible Committee has developed an extensive national media campaign that utilizes print, radio and television outlets. It also supplies non-sectarian Biblical literature to local groups to facilitate the observance of Bible Week.
National chairman for National Bible Week is William S. Kanaga. Honorary national chairpersons for the eighth consecutive year are President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy.
In a message prepared for National Bible Week, the president said that if the country is to remain a nation under God, "we must ensure that the wonderful treasures of the Bible are handed down to each new generation."
He pointed out the unique place the Bible has held in American life from the start of the nation to its subsequent moral and social development. He said it has "shaped the ideas and formed the consciences of millions of early Americans."
Members of other denominations not mentioned above should contact their church leaders to find out when, where or how the National Bible Week will be observed in their own churches.
But more important than just observing National Bible Week once a year is to rejoice in the words of the Bible by reading it frequently, the president said. At the close of his message, President Reagan said, "Let us now, and always, bear in mind the theme of this year's Bible Week - that to `Read the Bible' is truly the `Way to Go.' "