Pope Francis describes the Bible as "a highly dangerous book" that has caused countless deaths and wars, but it is still a book that he loves and values above all else.
The Pope wrote the prologue of the German edition of the Youcat Bible, which is due for publication on Oct. 21, according to Aleteia.
In the prologue, Pope Francis shares his love for the Bible and God's Word. "If you could see my Bible, you would not be particularly impressed," he writes. "What — that's the Pope's Bible? Such an old, worn-out book!"
Still, Pope Francis says he will not trade his old Bible for a new one that costs $1,000. "I love my old Bible, which has accompanied me half my life. It has been with me in my times of joy and times of tears. It is my most precious treasure. I live out of it, and I wouldn't give anything in the world for it," he says.
Speaking of the Youcat Bible, Pope Francis says he is pretty impressed by its colour and wealth of testimonies coming from ordinary people and saints. He hopes that people will read it until the last page and not keep it in a shelf, only to be forgotten.
He says there are actually Christians living in some parts of the globe where they are not allowed to carry the Bible. That is why having a Bible is a privilege for Christians, he adds.
"There are more persecuted Christians in the world today than in the early days of the Church. And why are they persecuted? They are persecuted because they wear a cross and bear witness to Jesus. They are convicted because they own a Bible. The Bible is therefore a highly dangerous book — so dangerous that you are treated in some countries as if you were hiding hand grenades in your closet," says Pope Francis, who also describes the Bible as "a book like fire."
The pope encourages Christians to use the Bible to hear God speak. "So notice: The Bible is not meant to be placed on a shelf, but to be in your hands, to read often — every day, both on your own and together with others," he says. "You do sports together or go shopping together. Why not read the Bible together as well — two, three, or four of you? In nature, in the woods, on the beach, at night in the glow of a few candles... you will have a great experience!"