The Holy Father had lots to say about the Bible in an interview last week
“The Bible is not meant to be placed on a shelf, but to be in your hands, to read often – every day, both on your own and together with others,” he wrote in the prologue to a Bible for youth in Germany. He encouraged young people to read the Bible together the way they play sports or go shopping together.
“Why not read the Bible together as well – two, three, or four of you? In nature, in the woods, on the beach, at night in the glow of a few candles … you will have a great experience!”
“Read with attention! Do not stay on the surface as if reading a comic book! Never just skim the Word of God!” he exhorted, according to a translation by the news site Aleteia.
The Pope encouraged young people to ask what God says to them through the Bible. “Has he touched me in the depths of my longing? What should I do?” he encouraged them to ask. “Only in this way can the force of the Word of God unfold. Only in this way can it change our lives, making them great and beautiful.”
“If you could see my Bible, you would not be particularly impressed,” he said. “What – that’s the Pope’s Bible? Such an old, worn-out book!”
But he would not trade it for a new one.
“I love my old Bible, which has accompanied me half my life. It has been with me in my times of joy and times of tears. It is my most precious treasure,” he said. “I live out of it, and I wouldn’t give anything in the world for it.”
He encouraged readers not to let the Bible disappear on a shelf and collect dust.
“There are more persecuted Christians in the world today than in the early days of the Church. And why are they persecuted? They are persecuted because they wear a cross and bear witness to Jesus. They are convicted because they own a Bible,” he said.
The Pope described the Bible as a “highly dangerous book.” Some countries treat someone with a Bible “as if you were hiding hand grenades in your closet.”