It may sound like an unlikely No. 1 best-seller for any country, but in Norway — one of the most secular nations in an increasingly godless Europe — the runaway popularity of this Bible has caught the country by surprise. The Scriptures, in a new Norwegian language version, even outpaced “Fifty Shades of Grey” to become Norway’s best-selling book
The sudden burst of interest in God’s Word has also spread to the stage, with a six-hour play called “Bibelen,” Norwegian for “the Bible,” drawing 16,000 people in a three-month run that recently ended at one of Oslo’s most prominent theaters.
Officials of the Lutheran Church of Norway have stopped short of calling it a spiritual awakening, but they see the new-found interest in this Bible as proof that it still resonates in a country where only 1 percent of the 5 million residents regularly attend church. Norway’s Bible Society promoted the new translation like a pop fiction novel.
Scholars aren’t surprised at the success of the plays or the new Bible translation, explaining that faith is a deeply personal matter in this nation of Scandinavians, who regularly withdraw from city life to spend holidays at remote cottages in the solitude of the mountains, fjords and forests. fiercely committed to jamming weekends with skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities, leaving little time other than Christmas or Easter to fill the pews. Church attendance is not a good indicator of Norwegian faith. Their religion has taken a back seat to other pursuits. (Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together)