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This year’s free Bible Sunday resources include inspiring stories like that of Pastor Zhidui, who literally climbs many mountains to preach in China.

What’s the story, Bible Sunday?

Bible Sunday is on 24 October this year, but the story of this special day goes back to 1549. Read about its intriguing history and access this year’s free resources that will inspire your worship.

The story of Bible Sunday goes back to 1549 when the Anglican Book of Common Prayer was first published. This has set verses and prayers for each Sunday. The prayer for the second Sunday in Advent was a Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Holy Scriptures.  It was based upon the first line of Romans 15.4, ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us ...’

The prayer was: Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.’

As a result, for centuries the second Sunday in Advent was called Bible Sunday in Anglican churches.

Bible Sunday and Bible Society

As the British and Foreign Bible Society developed, many towns had their own auxiliary branches, with representatives of all the local congregations. From the 1870s it became the custom for Bible Sunday to be held in each church, and they would all make a collection for the Bible Society. The idea spread across the world, especially where British missions had established churches. It was never compulsory to hold it on that Sunday, and some churches might hold it a different Sunday, for example if a Bible Society speaker was coming.

Special Bible Sundays

There were two years when Bible Sunday was declared for a different Sunday. In 1904 a Universal Bible Sunday was declared for 6 March to acknowledge the hundredth anniversary of the Bible Society movement, which was marked by churches across the British Empire, in the United States and by Protestant churches of Europe. And in 1938, Bible Sunday was declared for 19 June, to mark the 400th anniversary of the placing of an English Bible in every parish church.

Since the turn of this century, most British churches now mark Bible Sunday on the fourth Sunday in October, which is usually the Sunday before All Saints’ Day. In 2021, Bible Sunday is 24 October, and in 2022 it will be 30 October.

How to hold Bible Sunday

Bible Sunday is when churches focus their Sunday service on the same Bible passage and join together to celebrate God’s word. Some churches celebrate Bible Sunday during mid-week meetings or at other times. A group of churches will often come together and hold a joint service. It’s an event for everyone in the fellowship, adults and children alike. While many churches celebrate Bible Sunday on the same day, churches are free to choose any day to hold a Bible Sunday service.

Your free Bible Sunday 2021 resources

Bible Society has put together a free collection of inspirational resources to enable you to celebrate the Scriptures on Bible Sunday this 24 October.

The resources provide for an entire worship service and more. They can be used in church, in a small group, or at home. The resources include a sermon drawing from Isaiah 55, inspirational stories of Bible mission worldwide including a slide show of photographs, activities for children and videos.

Get your free Bible Sunday resources now 

Author: Neil Rees, 5 October 2021 (Last updated: 27 October 2021)

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