National Bible Day 2019
“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.” Psalm 19:7-8
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared the last Monday of each year as National Bible Day through Republic Act 11163 known as “An Act Declaring the Last Monday of January Every Year As A Special Working Holiday In Observance of National Bible Day.” It was sponsored by two evangelical Christian Senators, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva. It was passed by the Senate of the Philippines in February and was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 20, 2018.
The Law states that “As a predominantly Christian nation and the largest Christian nation in the Asia Pacific, this Act recognizes the value of the Holy Bible as the core of Christian faith.” (Section 3)
This year’s observance of the holiday falls on January 28.
Furthermore, the holiday is in connection with the observance of National Bible Month every January of each year and National Bible Week held last January 21-27, 2019 with the 27th as the National Bible Sunday.
Brief History of the National Bible Celebration
In 1982 President Ferdinand Marcos declared the last week of November of each year as National Bible Week through Presidential Proclamation No. 2242. This celebration was moved to January by former president Corazon Aquino via Proclamation No. 44 in 1986. This proclamation was strengthened by President Fidel V. Ramos in his Presidential Proclamation No. 1067.
Through this Proclamation Ramos urged that “’national attention be focused in the importance of reading and studying the Bible in molding the spiritual, moral, and social fiber of our citizenry.’ As more and more people read and study the Bible, the universal truths found in its pages empower them to live with hope and courage in these days of despair and difficulty.”’
Last January 5, 2017 President Rodrigo Duterte signed Procalamation 124 declaring January of every year to be the National Bible Month. The proclamation states that, “it is fitting and proper that national attention be focused on the important role being played by reading and study of the Bible in molding the moral fiber of our society.” This statement resonates with the president’s slogan of national transformation.
All of these proclamations acknowledge the Bible’s primacy over the lives of people and its role in the formation of a nation’s values and spirituality.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Bible: Real Talk.” Which focuses on empowering the youth and for them “to realize that they can find their comfort in the promises that God revealed in the Bible.” In line with this the Philippine Bible Society created an official NBM (National Bible Month) hashtag #THEBIBLEREALTALK. Its purpose is “to create online reminders for the youth. Social media has given us a wider reach and an even bigger audience. Imagine being able to let the love of God overflow in a post that contains one of His Bible verses.”
The goal of this theme applies not just for the youth but for everyone and hopes to provide “a time of honesty, empowerment and discernment will be ushered in for all – for both the younger and older generations. May it pave the way for deeper and more meaningful conversations on how to achieve positive change. And may it also bridge the gap between the young and the old in order for the Filipino people to stand on common ground.”
The bible references, as written above, speak of God’s word as the instrument of knowing God and his glory (Psalm 19:7&8 NIV). It is also useful for correction, training and instructions (2 Tim. 3:14-17 NIV).
In closing let me just add one more verse from the Psalms,
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 23:1 NIV)