Did you know that more copies of the Bible have been sold than any other book in the past fifty years? (3.9 billion copies to be exact!) In fact, the Bible is not only the bestselling book year after year, but also the bestselling book of all time, and it has been translated into every conceivable language (even Klingon for you Star Trek fans out there).

Why is the Bible so popular? Why is this 2,000-year-old treasure so important? Is it because it’s cracked some sort of secret code on the fulfillment of life?

Well . . . yes! That is pretty much exactly it.

The Bible is unlike any other book ever written. It is not just the story of God or words about God but rather the Word of God. That distinction demands our attention and most definitely our reverence. The Holy Spirit revealed God’s Word, inspiring the authors of each of the seventy-three books in the Bible, and they transmitted that Word into almost every literary genre you can think of including poetry, history, biography, legal codes, drama, prophecy, and letters.

The Bible is impressive—but not because of any human standard. It is impressive because it has the power to change lives. It changed mine, and it can change your life, too, if you let it.

Ave Maria Press has a new Bible that allows us connect to God’s Word in an exciting way. And equally excitable is yours truly who has the joy of sharing it with you! The Ave Catholic Notetaking Bible is a truly excellent Bible, distinct from other editions thanks to several unique features:

  • It is the first Bible with comprehensive cross-references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which helps connect the Scriptures to Church teaching.
  • It uses the popular Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (RSV2CE)
  • It has large, easy-to-read type.
  • It has wide margins, which means there’s plenty of space to write and draw. And thick paper supports the use of a variety of pens and pencils that won’t bleed through to the other side.
  • It is available in two formats, a navy clothbound hardcover edition and a brown imitation leather edition.
  • It includes helpful features and reading plans from scholars including John Bergsma, Sarah Christmyer, Sonja Corbitt, Anthony Pagliarini, Meg Hunter-Kilmer … and even yours truly!

The Bible is one of the greatest ways to get to know God, the Author of Life, who is also the author of your story. When you read Scripture, you will see that while customs and traditions change, people don’t really change. By reading about God’s interactions with those who came before us, you not only learn how God thinks and moves, but how others have responded to him.

By reading Scripture, we realize that we have more in common with biblical characters than we might have thought. We aren’t just reading about people from thousands of years ago; when we read the Bible, it’s as though we’re reading about ourselves. God’s timeless Word offers timely wisdom for any circumstance or challenge we face because—whether right or wrong—we can learn from those who came before us.

I encourage you to pick up the Bible and let it deepen your experience of the Eucharist and other sacraments, your prayer life, and your love for Mary and the Church. Read the Bible attentively and meditate on God’s Word everyday. Learn about the divinely inspired authors and the context of each book before you dig in. Follow a reading plan like the ones in The Ave Catholic Notetaking Bible and journal about what you learn in its verses. Share what you learn with others.

Whatever you do, let the Bible fuel your fire for truth, as it has mine, and answer the call to proclaim, defend, and uphold God’s Word in today’s culture. We come to know life in Christ quite literally through the Scriptures and in the sacraments. It is only through knowing Christ will we come to know what it means to truly live.

Cultivate your love for the Bible and watch as Sacred Scripture changes your life.

Mark Hart, also known as the “Bible geek,” is a Catholic author, speaker, and the CIO/Executive Vice President of Life Teen International. He contributed to The Ave Catholic Notetaking Bible.