"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
The inspiration for YB5 came in 1996 after asking all night in prayer, “Jesus, how can more people get prepared for Your return?” As the sun arose, He finally answered with one word, “BIBLE.”
My response was, “Of course, the New Testament tells in several places about Your return, but what can motivate people to read it?” Someone suggested making it like eating an elephant, a small bite at a time. At that point it was calculated that the entire New Testament could be read in a year by investing only 5 minutes a day. A reading schedule was created in the form of a bookmark.
Our Pastors for Jesus group voted unanimously to encourage everyone in El Paso to read the entire New Testament next year.
1997: YEAR OF THE BIBLE 5 minutes a day was a huge success! 58 churches, including 13 Catholic churches, participated. People gave the reading schedules to their family, friends and neighbors to encourage them to participate. Small groups were created to answer questions and to discuss what was being discovered in the New Testament.
Pastors preached through the New Testament following the reading schedule. The newspaper even printed the daily readings. Over 70,000 New Testaments were given to people who requested them.
Results? Thousands of El Pasoans read the New Testament, many for the first time. People loved it, churches grew and El Paso quickly became the safest large city in the nation.
It was so successful that the American Bible Society, with our encouragement, did it nationwide in 1999. After 2017 YB5 in El Paso, efforts will be focused on successfully doing 2020: Year of the Bible 5 minutes a day worldwide.