"The Bible 73"

WITH the cooperation of the Danish Bible Society, the Naerum Town Council Library, and a local Bible collection, the Naerum Seventh-day Adventist church recently had a Bible exhibition, "The Bible 73." It was immediately followed by a series of evangelistic meetings. . .

-Pastor-evangelist in the Naerum district of East Denmark at the time this article was written

WITH the cooperation of the Danish Bible Society, the Naerum Town Council Library, and a local Bible collection, the Naerum Seventh-day Adventist church recently had a Bible exhibition, "The Bible 73." It was immediately followed by a series of evangelistic meetings.

This exhibition included two hundred fifty Bibles valued at five hundred thousand D.kr. (approx. US$66,500) and included a marathon reading of the entire Bible. News reports of the event appeared in all the leading national newspapers of Denmark and were carried by the State-owned Danish Broadcasting System.

The idea for a Bible exhibition originated with the publishing and temperance secretary of the West Nordic Union, Kaj Pedersen. He was running Narco-Weeks (an exhibition on drug-abuse) in different towns in Denmark. When I visited one of his exhibitions, he said to me, "The next thing I am going to have is a Bible exhibition." I thought, Here is an idea that we could use in the Naerum Seventh-day Adventist church. Our church, situated about ten miles north of Copenhagen, is an attractive building serving about four hundred members.

The church board and the two associate pastors, Richard Miiller and Jens Evald Andreasen, agreed to the idea, so we formed a committee of fifteen persons to take care of the different aspects of the program. Pastor Miiller suggested that we should have a marathon reading of the Bible in connection with the exhibition.

In the church we had the facilities, the manpower, and the plans. Now we turned outside for support, first to the Danish Bible Society. Its leaders were interested in the exhibition and promised to lend us the most modern translation of the Bible in Danish, Faroe- Island language, and Greenlandic. The secretary of the Bible Society is Halfdan Hoegsbro, a retired bishop of the Lutheran Church (State church of Denmark). We invited him to come and open the exhibition.

We then shared our plans with the directors of the local Town Council Library. They asked if they could be part of the program and offered to supply us with old Bibles from the Royal Library and the University Library of Copenhagen as well as glass cases for the precious Bibles. A local craftsman, 75 years of age, has been a collector of Bibles since he was eight years old and his most precious Bibles were the core of the exhibition. Among his Bibles were the Pauline letters written in Latin in 1482 called Paulus Diaconus; the Hexapla from 1660; and one page from the original Gutenberg Bible of 1455.

The local newspaper published three articles about the exhibition and our plans. In the first of these articles, which was written by the church press secretary, Axel Kjoeller, we requested information about the oldest and most interesting Bibles in the area. Many responded to this article. At the appropriate time we sent out fifteen thousand handbills advertising the exhibition.

A church member who is an in door decorator was responsible for the exhibition area. In the adjoining rooms we set up a division with pictures from the Bible story and five different films to be shown hourly on the Bible lands and the work of the Bible societies.

First-night attendance was three hundred. The opening address was given by Bishop Hoegsbro, who talked on the work of the Danish Bible Society. Present also was the head librarian from the Town Council, who brought greetings and praised the initiative of the church in having this exhibition. The president of the East Denmark Conference, Henning Jacobsen, encouraged those present to enroll as members of the Bible Society and gave the bishop a check of D.kr. 1,000 (approx. U.S. $130) for the work of the Bible Society. The president of the West Nordic Union, Jens Madsen, asked for God's blessing on the exhibition, "The Bible 73," and on the work of the Bible Society.

Next morning the exhibition opened and many students from schools in the neighborhood visited the church.

In connection with the exhibition we had a Bible quiz with eight questions on the Bible. All the answers could be found in the exhibition area. Bibles and books on the Bible were the prizes. About seven hundred people took part in the quiz, supplying us at the same time with their ad dresses. In the six days the exhibition was open three thousand four hundred people visited the Seventh-day Adventist church, many of them for the first time.

On the Saturday night of the exhibition week a church concert was held. Taking part in this program was the Skodsborg Choir directed by Knud Svendsen. Solo violinist Tom Hoist arranged the program. Never before did so many visitors attend a meeting in our church.

On Tuesday morning the marathon reading of the whole Bible began. From Genesis to Revelation it took 83 1/2 hours to read the 1,250 pages of the Danish Authorized Version. The Bible on the communion table was used for the reading. One hundred and forty different persons, each reading half an hour, took part. The youngest was 13 and the oldest 96 years of age. Among the participants in the Bible reading were students, craftsmen, laborers, doctors, housewives, pastors, pensioners, technicians, pharmacists, and a bishop.

When the Lutheran bishop read the last chapter of Revelation on Friday night there were two hundred present to listen.

The marathon reading of the whole Bible and the exhibition "The Bible 73" really hit the press. I do not think that any other single event in the almost one-hundred-year history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Denmark drew as much attention as this one. Many of the leading newspapers included pictures with their stories. Twice Danish Broadcasting System newsmen came for interviews, and a portion of the Bible reading was transmitted live.

On the Tuesday night after the exhibition closed we had our first public meeting in an evangelistic campaign. The subject was "Archeology and the Bible." These meetings will lead into a presentation of our special message. Many people, both church members and friends, are attending these lectures.

The exhibition "The Bible 73" was the greatest single campaign that Naerum church ever engaged in, and it broke down more prejudice against Seventh-day Adventists than any other thing we ever engaged in.

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-Pastor-evangelist in the Naerum district of East Denmark at the time this article was written

June 1973

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