Help Bible Society reach refugees with the Bible

“Pray for us,” says the Director of the Bible Society in Syria, based in Aleppo. “Every day we live is a gift from God.”

People in Aleppo are living without water and electricity. They have nowhere to escape. And there is nowhere safe to shelter. Bombs and missiles are falling, causing huge damage throughout the city.

The Director of the Bible Society in Syria is speaking over a noisy telephone line from the city that was once Syria’s economic capital. Today it is the world’s most war-torn city, but Bible Society is carrying on with its work.

Five years ago this July the war reached Aleppo. He describes a life where explosions roar day and night. There is no warning before the shells land and the rockets explode. There are no functioning air defence sirens to tell people to seek shelter.

“You’re dead before you hear the rocket arrive,” he says. “We live with the knowledge we could just as easily be hit whether at home, work or in church. There’s nothing we can do, nowhere we can go. It is God who decides. Therefore, people continue to live as normally as possible. They go to work, and they go on worshipping, though many of the city’s churches are now partially or completely destroyed.

“God has given us hope ever since the conflict began, and as a Bible Society we serve all people and all churches, whether they are Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant.”

Pictured above is a Syrian refugee family who fled their home village when the bombs started to fall, killing people in their street. They live in an apartment in Jordan, and say that the only help they have had is from Christians – the Bible Society of Jordan and a local church. The Bible Society is working with many churches to provide material help for many thousands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees in the country.

Demand for Bibles is high

Despite the war, the Bible Society team has managed to bring in 30-40 tonnes of Bibles and Christian books each year. Most arrive via Lebanon, since it is not possible to send the books directly to Syria.

“The demand for Bibles is high here,” the Director says. “Children’s Bibles are very popular. People feel that only the Bible can provide answers in this difficult time, and it is only God who can really meet their needs.

“For the Bible Society, this is actually a good time, because we witness and give people hope through the Bible. People in Aleppo are traumatised and exhausted after four years of war. They live with the grief of all their loved ones who have lost their lives, and with the fear of being hit themselves.

“Also, everyday life has become harder. Even small or mundane tasks are difficult. People are dependent on private generators for electricity, they get water by carrying it in buckets, and there is little to buy in the shops.”

“We are totally dependent on God. He is the only solution. At the same time we have realised that we must not lose our respect and love for man.”

“Yes, this is what we have learnt through this conflict and we are crying out to God on behalf of each person in our country. Each one is precious in his sight! Please continue to pray. It’s the most important thing you can do for us.”

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Helping refugees in Lebanon

We’re helping to reach out to displaced Syrian, Iraqi and Kurdish refugee families fleeing to Lebanon with the hope of the Bible.

Partnering with the Bible Society in Lebanon, we aim to build bridges to these desperate people in a very practical way by helping them with food and medicine needs, as well as their spiritual needs.

“We want to be living the Word to them and for them to encounter God’s love,” said a Lebanon Bible Society worker.

Our goal is to help provide as many as 4,500 refugee families forced out of their homes with aid packages and Scripture materials. In doing so these people will be introduced to the Bible message for the first time and local partner churches will be strengthened.


Would you prayerfully consider how you can help bring the Bible to refugees in Lebanon, Greece and on the refugee highway by making a gift?

We are 100% donor funded and rely on your gifts to continue our work.


New Zealand supporters thanked in Kiribati

Kiribati Bible translator, Rev Teakamatang Eritai gave a long vote of thanks speech during the launch of the Kiribati New Version on September 17.

Rev. Eritai grabbed the opportunity to kindly acknowledge every individual who sacrificially gave money in Aotearoa, New Zealand through Bible Society New Zealand to help pay for the 3,000 Bibles that were given freely in Kiribati. Rev. Eritai challenged his people to cultivate an attitude of giving rather than receiving – to give back to God through the Bible Society whether in offering or prayers of thanksgiving, and continuous support to the work around the region and the world. He also thanked the United Bible Societies for all the technical help given by the Translation Consultants in the 28-year-long period of the project. The assistance to speed up the translation process from Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN) ministry was also acknowledged.

On this note, it is the constant desire and prayer of the Bible Society in the South Pacific that families and individuals will rise up in every country like Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji to be Bible donors (join the Bible-a-Month Club) and be a source of blessing to other people groups that are in desperate need of God’s Word.

Story: Bible Society of the South Pacific


New waterproof Bibles for the Navy

A chaplain for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) hopes his sailors won’t ever have to test just how waterproof our New Testaments really are!

Chaplain Pete Olds, RNZN, commented, “The practice of offering our new recruits a Bible is one that goes back many years.  Now, in the RNZN’s 75th year, we can gift them the good news in a way that really resonates with their new life as sailors; waterproof and wrapped in something of our history as a service.  I’ve got to be honest though, we’re praying the waterproof bit will turn out to be unnecessary.”

Bible Society recently supplied 1,350 New Testaments with Proverbs and Psalms to the Royal New Zealand Navy as part of their 75th anniversary. The specially designed Bibles with plastic coated pages include a Navy prayer and front cover design of HMS New Zealand, a battle cruiser gifted to us from Britain in 1911.

These Bible play a role in the new recruits’ training process and often throughout their whole life in the Navy, explained Peter. “The 300 trainees a year go through an ‘attesting process’ where they take an oath on a Bible to join the RNZN or they can choose to make a verbal affirmation. However, the majority choose to ‘attest’ on a Bible, which is now the special design Navy Bible, and then they get to keep it. All trainees are offered a Bible and usually they take one and often they carry it with them from then on.”

“For our sailors, particularly our new recruits, they are embarking on a new life that is quite uncertain and there are a lot of questions that come up, especially in those initial stages of training. They are intensely personal questions such as, What am I doing here in this organisation, Where is this going? Some of these emotional and relational things, such as being separated from family, are big issues. So for them to be able to pick up and read The Word themselves is very important. And it enables us to have a dialogue with them and we can point them to things they may find encouraging, critiquing or shaping in terms of the message,” said Peter.

“Our hope in having these Bibles as a tool and having our presence here as chaplains, is we get to start the dialogue about the bigger meanings found in the world and the story that lies beyond the immediate, everyday stuff. “

“Personally, I find we are living in a world with a ceiling on it and any notion of the transcendence of a larger cause is often removed. We’re so focused on what’s going on here and now, and in terms of faith, a lot of people have just discounted there is anything bigger – a bigger picture. So one of the things we seek to do is engage people’s understanding of that bigger picture because I think it is fundamental to who and what we are.  The world is a pretty bleak place at times and if you’re got no concept of ‘other’, of God or spirituality, there are a lot of things you haven’t got any option for other than to just endure because there is not a hope lying behind them.”


New book explores the faith of Queen Elizabeth II

The true extent of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Christian faith is revealed in a new book titled The Servant Queen and the King She Serves.

The Bible was central to the start of Queen Elizabeth’s reign when, at her coronation, it was described as “The most valuable thing that this world affords.” Now 64 years later, the role of the Bible and her Christian faith in her reign as Queen has been detailed in a new book to commemorate her 90th birthday, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves.

Published by Bible Society UK (for whom the Queen is Patron), HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, the Queen has personally written the foreword. In it she says, “I am touched that Bible Society, HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity have published this book to celebrate my 90th birthday. In my first Christmas broadcast in 1952, I asked the people of the Commonwealth and Empire to pray for me as I prepared to dedicate myself to their service at my Coronation. I have been – and remain – very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love. I have indeed seen his faithfulness.”

The Queen, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is well known for her faith but it is unusual for her to write about it.

“I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings and to put my trust in God … I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel,” she said in 2002.

The Servant Queen and the King She Serves was distributed to thousands of churches across the UK in the lead up to the Queen’s official birthday celebrations in 2016. The celebrations included a massive street party attracting about 10,000 people to The Mall in London.

To celebrate the Queen’s Christian faith, churches across the UK were encouraged to bring their communities together to join the festivities, plan street parties of their own, and special church services of thanksgiving.

The book was designed to be a conversation-starter and a gift from churches to their local communities.  It proved so popular in Britain that the Bible Society reprinted a further 150,000 copies on top of the original 100,000.

Bible Society New Zealand has the book available for $9.99 per copy (including packing and posting). The price is set to enable Bible Society only to recover its costs.

Order by phone: 0800 424 253 OR by email: orders@biblesociety.org.nz


New children’s Bible app aims to ignite love for the Bible

Bible Society New Zealand has launched a new app for mobile devices that is designed to help parents share the Bible with their kids.

Called The Big Little Bible, the app features New Zealand-made illustrations using a unique ‘one line’ art technique called contour drawingwhere the pencil never leaves the page.

Aimed at 8-10 year olds, the app includes 30 Bible stories taken straight from the Contemporary English Version and seeks to bridge the gap from paraphrased Bible stories to independent real text Bible reading.

For illustrator Meesh Holswich, the project was a dream come true. “God gave me the heart to draw and I have been drawing non-stop since I was a child.”

The 100 illustrations took more than six months to complete and were made especially for the app.

And amazingly her unique style of art dovetails with the overall message of the Bible. “One line, one thread, from the beginning of the Bible until the end, it’s all one story. Each illustration is made with one continuous line, which then joins with the next illustration, and the next, representing the one story that runs through the Bible from beginning to end,” she explained.

jesus-and-peter-the-big-little-bibleMeesh’s passion for illustrating goes back to her childhood love for the Bible. “The Bible is a precious gift that gives us insight into the great story of God’s love revealed throughout time. Reading Bible stories shows us how other people, just like us, live out their lives in faith, sometimes in failure, and the wondrous things that happen when we follow God.

“Drawing Bible stories brought me back to when, as a child, I used to wonder at the beautiful illustrations in Bible story books. Remembering those days helped me think of how I wanted to illustrate each story,” she said.

Bible Society New Zealand’s biblical literacy research found that many children would read, listen to or watch Bible stories more often if they were on computer or mobile app. This will be their third mobile app and is free to download. You can download The Big Little Bible app at the Apple and Google Play stores now.