305 million Bibles for the world this decade

In 2018, for the second year running, Bible Societies distributed more than 38 million full Bibles around the globe.

In China, Ma Wen, 90, has been a Christian for 25 years but received her very first Bible in 2018.

Annual Bible distribution has been growing steadily since the turn of the decade, reflecting the ongoing demand for Scripture as well as the tremendous commitment of Bible Societies to put God’s Word into the hands of everyone who wants it. Since 2010, United Bible Societies (UBS) has provided more than 305 million full Bibles to the world.

In 2018, 17% of all full Bibles were internet downloads – and for global languages such as Spanish, English and Portuguese, Scripture downloads all topped a million.

More New Testaments were distributed in 2018 than at any other point this decade. Almost 15 million print copies were provided, mostly in Asia where Christianity is considered a minority religion. continue reading →


The Bible is bringing hope to South East Asian Christians

The Philippines, Malaysia and Cambodia all have in one thing in common. They all have a desperate need for the Bible and the hope it brings.

In Cambodia, it’s an urgent need for help with growing literacy rates so people can read the Bible. In Malaysia, where floods of migrants and refugees wait, it’s providing the hope that the Bible brings. And in the Philippines, it’s Scripture access for the 2.2 million visually impaired people.

Cambodia – learning through listening

Literacy is key to the growth of the Christian church in Cambodia. It enables people to have access to the Word of God and move from darkness into light. Cambodia’s education system is underfunded and many of the teachers, particularly those in rural areas, are so lowly paid they have to take multiple jobs just to survive. continue reading →


Bible Society launches new small group resource

Whether your group meets at a café, club, church or in your home, Bible Society has just launched a brilliant new small group Bible resource that is perfect for digging deeper into the Bible with your friends.

It’s called LYFE, and is designed to help groups connect the ancient writings of Scripture to life in 21st century New Zealand.

Lyfe video guest Scottie Reeve

LYFE is a 36 session Bible study resource based around six key spiritual formation themes including prayer, justice and the Holy Spirit. Each study features a short video of a New Zealand Christian leader sharing their thoughts on the topic. Some of the video guests include Auckland pastor Tak Bhana, musician and worship leader Cindy Ruakere and Wellington social entrepreneur and Anglican Priest Scottie Reeve. continue reading →


Restoration of the wounded heart in Rwanda

Rwanda is a country in the process of rapid transformation. Its recovery from the brutal 1994 genocide that claimed one million lives is a slow, difficult and ongoing process.

It was one of the most violent killings the world has ever seen. Women and girls were raped, while countless children witnessed the slaughter of their parents, often by people they had previously known as friends and neighbours. All of this left many people in Rwanda traumatised.

Now the Bible is helping heal these deep wounds of the past with its message of hope, forgiveness and restoration. Bible Society Rwanda is helping lead the way with a project aimed at healing trauma with biblical audio material. This project is very important for the Rwandan community, especially for Christians, who make up more than 93 percent of the 12 million plus population. Many people go to church to see if they can find peace and healing. Biblical trauma healing is restoring their hope and helping reconciliation among the Rwandan people who are being transformed with the Word of God. continue reading →


Bible translation challenges – the Word of our God endures!

In recent months the world has been experiencing a spate of natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, bush fires and volcanic eruptions.

Some of these have impacted translation projects both in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu. In PNG a recent 7.5 magnitude earthquake destroyed two translation centres. And in Vanuatu, a volcanic eruption twice derailed the launch of the newly translated Havakinau New Testament. But despite it all, God’s Word endures… continue reading →


Volcanic eruptions can’t stop Bible translation

Two volcanic eruptions couldn’t stop the launch of the revised Havakinau New Testament, which is now serving an unexpected purpose.

It’s bringing hope to Havakinauspeaking Christians in Vanuatu as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives and homes on other islands following the volcanic eruptions of Monaro Voui on the island of Ambae. continue reading →


Te Paipera Tapu (Holy Bible in Māori) celebrates 150 years

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Te Paipera Tapu (The Holy Bible in Māori).

While the first ever Scriptures in Te Reo Māori were published in Sydney in 1827 by the New South Wales Bible Society, this was the first ever full Māori Bible.

A sneak peak at the upcoming Paipera Tapu app, to be released early in 2019.

But the journey of the Bible in Te Reo Māori didn’t stop there.

This edition was followed by three further versions in 1889, 1925 and 1952, as well as a reformatted edition of the 1952 text which was published in 2012.

Then there was Tāku Paipera, the only Māori Children’s Bible storybook available, launched at the end of 2016.

Now, that very first edition of Te Paipera Tapu, first published in 1868, has just been digitised.  And this digitised version will be one of the many tools used to help produce a brand new translation, in more contemporary language for today’s Te Reo Māori speakers.

“Translation of any significance takes time, and anecdotal evidence suggests that contemporary Māori usage is already considerably different from the language of the current Māori Bible.  So we need to be pro-active,” commented Dr Stephen Pattemore, Bible Society’s Translations Director.

A new mobile Māori Bible app is also currently in development and will feature the current Māori Bible text (2012) as well as English Bible translations for people who want to read Te Reo Māori alongside an English text such as the Good News Bible. The new app will be launched in early 2019.

For more about the story of how the Bible was translated into Māori, watch our Ngā Timatanga video.


Sophie Gray; baking for Bibles for China

Nationally-known cook, author, Destitute Gourmet founder and Food Director of Bauer Media, Sophie Gray says Bake for Bibles is a great project for kids, friends and the whole family. And very importantly, the cookies are delicious!

Bake for Bibles is our newest fundraising initiative where volunteers bake Noah’s Ark animal cookies, ice them and sell them to friends and family. Participants are given a free Bake for Bibles pack which contains cookie cutters, a Noah’s Ark presentation box, cookie packets, a booklet (including the recipe), a poster and a colouring-in sheet.

Sophie says, “I think it’s a really fun and accessible way to get the kids involved in a baking project. The animal theme is very relatable and Noah’s Ark is a familiar and popular story, whether you’ve grown up in a household of faith or not.

“So you can invite the neighbours’ kids in to help bake the cookies and tell the Noah’s Ark story and talk about what’s going to happen to the money being raised.”

Sophie also believes Bake for Bibles is a great inter-generational activity for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and Godparents who may have more patience than parents when icing gets sloshed around the kitchen by little children. “Instead they will just enjoy the moment and the connection,” she said.

“Selling baking for money is a time-honoured tradition in the Western World from bake-sales to cake-stalls.”

A Christian since primary school, Sophie likes the idea of getting the Bible to people who need it. “I feel the Bible is almost a symbol of freedom. And the freedom to know God and explore faith isn’t something that’s accessible to everyone in the world.

“So what this project does is put the freedom I have into the hands of others who wouldn’t otherwise have it by giving them a Bible,” she says.

Take part in Bake for Bibles

Bible creates excitement at Kenepuru hospital

“I would take millions of these Bibles! I have never seen people so excited about a Bible before,” says Rev. Amy Finiki, chaplain at Porirua’s Forensic Mental Health hospital.

The award-winning comic strip Action Bible has both patients and staff lining up to read it.

Rev. Amy, who hunted out the Bible for patients with reading difficulties, has been both amazed and delighted at the reaction. “Everyone on this campus is trying to read this Bible. Everyone knows about it – even patients in other units.”

There are about 20 units in all at the Hospital with a total of around 200 beds including Kenepuru Hospital. Rev. Amy works primarily with youth (13-18 years) in three units including Acute Adolescent Mental Health, Intellectual Disabilities Youth Mental Health, and the National Forensic Youth Mental Health Unit. Porirua is home to the country’s first national forensic mental health youth unit opened in 2016, for young people who are involved with the justice system.

Rev. Amy commented patients are saying things like, “Have you see it? It’s amazing. It’s like a comic.” She believes its popularity is due to its accessibility and readability.

“It doesn’t look like a normal Bible, there’s colour and reality to it, even ethnically it’s pretty correct, it’s really well done. It makes people feel like they want to read the Bible and if they can’t read well they can at least see the pictures and follow the story.”

Rev. Amy said the under 18-year-olds loved it and even devised time slots to make sure everyone could have a turn reading it.

“That’s unbelievable to me- it’s a Bible! I love the Bible, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a realist.”

And now patients have started coming to the on-site chapel. “The Word they are reading is not so harsh. It’s more loving. And the world isn’t grey and black – it’s more colourful,” she said. She was spurred into looking for a Bible with a difference when she realised her patients weren’t reading the usual pocket-sized New Testament and Psalms she hands out. “What I found was they couldn’t read well and some Bible words can be difficult.”

“I went off looking for a Bible for teenagers with reading difficulties and came up with nothing. All I could find were little kid’s Bibles which I thought would be very demeaning to them.”

Finally her research turned up the Action Bible and within a week of giving it to the youth there were bookmarks all the way through. But it was both the staff members and the kids who were reading it.

“The kids were passing it around to one another and then the staff members were reading it while it was in the nurses unit. And I just thought this is amazing.”

There are also three schools on campus, one for each of the main units, and the Bible started getting passed between these schools. Now the teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and the kids were reading it. Then just before Christmas Rev. Amy had a delegation visit her asking “ how can we get hold of a copy of this Bible. We need more of these!”

 “There are many patients who find just having the Bible with them brings them comfort. Others find peace in reading it and exploring it.  It is a wonderful tool to have in our hospital,” she said.

Since writing this story Bible Society has granted the hospital another box of Action Bibles and Rev. Amy and the team want to say a big “thank you!”


Wellington Medical Doctor knows the power of the Bible

Wellington medical Doctor Ate Moala loves praying the Bible.

“That’s how I read the Bible. I pray it. I read out the scriptures, personalise them and turn them into prayers” she explains.

“The Word of God is life to me. One of the scriptures I really love is Proverbs 4:20 (NKJV).” Ephesians is another of Ate’s favourite books.

Take Your Bible Prescription!

Ate, who appears in one of our new Good for Life films, sees the Bible as a valuable tool in her work. In situations where things seem medically hopeless, she believes it is important to give people hope. “I say to people. This is where the medical textbook ends, but there is God. I tell them that God, Creator of the human body, is able to do much more.”

She says, “When people are in seemingly hopeless situations, I encourage them to read and speak the promises God has given in his Word.

“Or it might be a person with depression and you can look them in the eye and speak to their soul and say, ‘God has got a great plan for you and your future’, and remind them of who they are. It’s a great privilege to help people in a holistic way and shift people from despair to hope through the life-giving power of God’s Word. You give people a chance to encounter this loving God who has revealed himself to us through his Word.”

Sometimes Ate says she’ll write them a promise from the Bible (like a prescription) and encourage them to take it three times a day. “You’re actually giving them a gift – the living Word.”

Go Girls!

Ate, who is Tongan, also founded Purely Girls, a Christian youth leadership development ministry in New Zealand and now Tonga. Her vision is to help girls know who they are, and that they are loved, special and cherished. Ate and the Purely Girls team equip the girls with tools so that they can reach for the stars in all areas of society.

Watch Ate’s story below…