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Publishers promote Bible reading Print Email
Written by Staff   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 09:43 AM America/New_York

Efforts aim to address ‘worrying’ lack of understanding

Publishers in two countries with rich Bible heritages are involved in campaigns to encourage more reading of the Scriptures.

In Germany, a new magazine aims to address what it considers a growing lack of knowledge of the Bible, while in England two, year-long efforts have been launched to spur Christians to get to know God’s Word better.

Faszination Bibel (Fascination Bible) was debuted in October by leading Christian magazine publisher Bundes-Verlag, part of SCM (Stiffung Christliche Medien), a nonprofit Christian foundation based in Witten, Germany.

More than 230,000 copies of the 100-page, free issue—subtitled “Learn to love the Bible”—were distributed to churches and Christian organizations in Germany and Switzerland. It featured articles on archaeology and the Bible in church history, personal Bible reading experiences and study advice.

With an editorial board of 50 professors and scholars, the magazine was born out of Bundes-Verlag’s study of the evangelical and charismatic movement in the country—home to the groundbreaking 1454 Gutenberg Bible, the first to be printed using movable type.

The company found a high stated love of the Bible, but “low love and real hunger for reading and living by it,” said CEO Ulrich Eggers. “There was a growing lack of knowledge within large parts of the church. Somebody had to do something, so we started Faszination Bibel to try to make it interesting.”

Eggers said that the target audience was Christians “who have lost love, longing or hunger for their Bible, but have some hope to find a new start or a dim thought that there might be more in the Bible than they think.” 

Other potential readers for the magazine—with subsequent copies available on subscription--were young Christians who have a fresh interest in the Bible and want to know more, “but not with a standard Bible-reading type of method. ... We want to water their mouth or to wake up their appetite for the Bible.”

Bundes-Verlag publishes 12 other magazines, while SCM’s other divisions include book publishing, a distribution center and a chain of six bookstores.

In England, more than a dozen publishers are among 100 Christian organizations backing Biblefresh, launched to mark the 400th anniversary of the country’s famous King James Bible.

The initiative follows research by the Evangelical Alliance in the U.K. that found “worrying” low levels of biblical knowledge and understanding. Congregations signing up for Biblefresh are being asked to raise their level of involvement with the Bible in reading, training, translation and action.

As part of the campaign, Authentic Media published Biblefresh, a 144-page, magazine-style book with the tagline, “It could change your world,” with articles about the Bible and its study from 50 authors, including John Stott and Richard Foster.

Other publisher supporting Biblefresh include Bible Reading Fellowship, HarperCollins, Hodder Faith, InterVarsity Press, Paternoster and Scripture Union.

Meanwhile, some Christians in the country are already partway through an effort to read the Bible more. 

Launched in September by the Soul Survivor youth movement, The Bible in One Year with Soul Survivor campaign has been supported by the publication of three special-edition Bibles offering 365 daily readings.