This past weekend, Hollywood celebrated all-things television at the 64th Annual Emmy Awards. Television's big night was fêted with all of the glitz and glamour you would expect from the center of the entertainment industry.
This year's award winners ranged from political satire to family feuds to family fun. But TV has a new show that is burning up the airways. It focuses on a best-selling book full of all the things that Hollywood loves: romance, betrayal, war and murder.
The show? The American Bible Challenge.
The book? The Bible.
For years, the Bible has been found in a variety of places: in churches (naturally), in hotel rooms, in prison cells, on battlefields, just to name a few. Now the Bible is taking center stage in an unlikely place: your TV.
When the Game Show Network launched its 2012 fall line-up, "The American Bible Challenge" show -- featuring the bestselling book of all time -- became the 17-year-old network's most-watched program in its history. That same week, The American Bible Challenge game app was downloaded more than 140,000 times and played more than 2 million times.
If any of this surprises you, I would encourage you to get to know the Bible better. The Bible is the all-time bestseller for a reason.
From poverty to politics, environment to ethics, revolution to romance, the Bible has always addressed society's most pressing issues and remains the best-selling book of all time. In addition to the spiritual truths and wisdom it imparts, the Bible is also a great read. Full of adventure, mystery and the miraculous, the Bible takes readers on a journey through many periods in history. It isn't surprising, therefore, that the Bible makes for great television.
I'm fortunate to lead one of the nation's oldest non-profit organizations, American Bible Society. It is fascinating to look back over the nearly 200-year history of the organization to see how varied the mechanisms for bringing the Bible into people's lives have been. From sending Bibles out to the frontier with Pony Express riders, to sending pocket-sized Bibles to battlefields with military chaplains, to going behind bars with prison chaplains, to speaking through one of the most-visited pages on Facebook, the distribution of the Scripture has taken myriad forms. But whether by boat, plane, train, iPhone or camel, American Bible Society has used whatever avenue is available to get God's Word around the world where needed most.
That's why I'm so excited about the success of The American Bible Challenge TV show and app. The Bible has been nearly everywhere else. Isn't it time it made it to primetime?