In our National Book Month series, it’s been fun to share favorite books and experiences, but we can’t close the month without discussing the most popular book ever written.
The Bible is the world’s best-selling book of all time, with no other book coming close. About 100 million Bibles are printed each year, and 20 million are sold in the US. Sales figures for the Bible average between $425m and $650m, year after year, and dwarfs sales of all other books. That means Bibles are sold or given away at a rate of
- 273,972 a day
- 11,415 an hour
- 190 a minute
- 3 a second
It’s easy for us to read Bibles on apps and search for verses on the internet. We can load software with different translations and definitions to clarify. We have our pick of devotionals filled with scripture. How many Bibles do we have in our homes? Yet, our Bible in print was not always as accessible and came to us at great cost. I’m not pursuing a church history lesson here, but two men who translated our Bible into English, John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, were persecuted and proclaimed heretics. Wycliffe died of natural causes, but years later, his remains were exhumed, crushed, burned and thrown into the River Swift with contempt. Tyndale was burned at the stake with copies of his Bibles at his feet.
We have Bibles at our fingertips–even the stroke of a keyboard to find a verse and compare translations in minutes.
Sixty-six books written by forty men with different personalities and backgrounds, representing different times in history, offer us divinely inspired history, poetry, wisdom, music, principles for living, examples of failure and success, guidance, love, comfort, encouragement, and more. Psalm 19: 1-10 (NIV) tells us
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
Yes, the Bible is the best book ever written, not because it makes sales records and publishers may have marketing savvy, but because of a desire to know God and how He changes lives. Preserved despite persecution, the apostle Paul said it well, “And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained.” 2 Timothy 2:9 (NLT)
Tell us how scripture is real for you. What is a verse that meets you where you are—one of comfort, wisdom, encouragement? Do you have a life verse? Do you pray scripture for yourself and others? How does scripture change your life?