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Nov 12, 2015

A Book for the Family: Celebrating National Bible Week

Sarah Christmyer

First there was the World Meeting of Families, then the Synod of Bishops on the Family, and now Catholics are invited to celebrate the Bible as “A Book for the Family” during National Bible Week.

A week devoted to the Bible is nothing new—it was launched in 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt declared the week of Thanksgiving to be National Bible Week.  That year, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor interrupted plans for a day-long reading of the Bible on NBC radio – with the result that Scripture readings were punctuated by news reports on the disaster, providing a context in which to contemplate those events and becoming a call to prayer.

A father reads to his three young children from the Holy Bible.


As our nation becomes increasingly secular and National Bible Week no longer receives presidential attention, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is marking it with a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of a remarkable Church document on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum (DV).  It will be held a week early, from November 15-21 to mark the anniversary which is November 18.

One of the hallmarks of Dei Verbum is the way it presents divine revelation (the way God reveals himself to us) as relational.  It makes it clear that God wants to know us.  There’s a huge distance between God and us that we can’t cross alone: yet he has bridged the gap, he has reached out and spoken to us and offered his love.  The Bible plays a key role in that outreach:

“For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life.” (DV 21)

That first sentence is worth repeating:

In the sacred books,
the Father who is in heaven
meets His children with great love
and speaks with them.”

The Bible is a book by the Father for his children (Tweet this).  It’s a “Book for the Family” of God; a 73-part love letter that chronicles the history of the relationship, proclaims God’s undying eternal love for each one of us, and gives us a glimpse of the glorious future he has planned for those who love him.

Wow!  Have you read it?

National Bible Week provides an opportunity to make it a Book for your family.  Here are two simple things you can do:

  1. Enthrone the Bible in your home.  The USCCB offers these directions for creating a space to honor the Bible and gather for daily prayer.
  2. Enter the biblical story with “The Bible in a Week.”  The Great Adventure blog will take you through the entire Bible during National Bible Week in a series of daily posts excerpted from Walking with God by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins.  Learn how “His story” (God’s history of love with mankind) is Your story, too.  Sign up to receive the series here.

“The Bible in a Week” is based on the Bible Timeline learning system, which divides the biblical narrative into 12 time periods and begins with 14 books that tell the story from beginning to end.  Here’s what to expect from the blog:

November 15 –  Early World

November 16 –  Patriarchs

November 17 – Egypt & Exodus and Desert Wanderings

November 18 – Conquest & Judges and the Royal Kingdom

November 19 –  Divided Kingdom, Exile and Return

November 20 – Maccabean Revolt and Messianic Fulfillment I

November 21 – Messianic Fulfillment II and the Church


God is present and active in his Word.  May he richly bless you as you make that Word more and more a part of your home!

For additional ways to make the Bible part of your home, as well as related activities for home and the parish community, see the USCCB’s National Bible Week webpage

You May Also Like…

How to Read and Understand the Bible
Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible
The Bible Timeline Guided Journal


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