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 →

Bespoke Bibles for New Zealand’s Army, Airforce and Navy

Bible Society New Zealand has just given 5,000 specially designed Bibles to the chaplaincy service of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

Chaplain Di Woods with 2019 Airforce Bible

For the first time ever, the Bibles were individually tailored to members of New Zealand’s Airforce, Navy and Army. Each of the three different editions of the NZDF Bible includes messages from the Governor General and the Principal Defence Force Chaplain Ants Hawes, along with NZDF photographs, the National Anthem and the relevant prayer for each of the Forces.

The majority of the Bibles will be given to new NZDF recruits who can choose to attest on the Bible at their swearing in ceremony. “They are then asked if they would like to keep the Bible,” Ants Hawes says. continue reading →

Homeless but happy because of the Bible

This is the remarkable story of penniless, homeless war veteran, who buys a Bible from a trash can and has his life turned around.

Suddenly he discovers hope. He reads and studies the Bible daily praying to God while sitting on his piece of cardboard on the pavement. God answers his prayers and he finds a home.

Arun Sok Nhep, from United Bible Societies, takes up the story….

As I was walking across Vientiane’s market (Laos) after dinner, I noticed a man sitting on the street who appeared to be homeless. I was intrigued as he didn’t seem to be begging but was intensely reading a book and taking notes. Curious, I approached him and immediately recognized the Revised Lao Bible we published in 2012. Even more intrigued, I asked him where this Bible came from and he told me he had purchased it from someone who had found it in the trash. He has been reading it ever since. I could see the well-worn pages, the result of assiduous reading. After a chat, I gave him some money and went on my way. continue reading →

A blind man’s love for the Braille Bible

Just a few weeks ago, Pradeep walked into the Bible Society office in India and left a lasting impact on staff.

Pradeep is unable to see, hear or speak but he converses using his hands and fingers. He loves to read Scripture and uses his fingers to gently glide across the raised Braille text.

The Braille Bible in India

The Bible Society of India have been providing Braille Bibles to the country’s visually impaired community for many years. The full Braille Bible is made up of 43 large volumes and sometimes people with visual disabilities request various books of the Bible in Braille. continue reading →

New Bible Society CEO’s love for the Bible

Our new CEO Neels Janse van Rensburg loves his lattes, bike riding, hiking, and movies.

But nothing for him beats reading the Word of God (although a good barbecue is second place!).

“The Bible is more than just the Word of God or a Holy book to me. It’s a mirror I reflect in daily to learn more of who God is. In return, it helps me understand who I already am through the completed work of his Son,” said Neels.

Neels Van Rensburg

Neels Janse van Rensburg

His favourite Bible verse is 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV), ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’

Neels, who is also a co-pastor on Auckland’s North Shore, has a heart for the broken and says he loves people and helping them to develop their God-given talent. “There’s no greater joy for me than to see an individual leave the station of brokenness and journey to the place of wholeness discovering who they are and what they have to offer in Christ.”

As for Neels’s favourite part of the Bible, it is the life of Jesus. “The ultimate sacrifice he made on the cross presenting us all with the opportunity to be reconciled with the Father and restored to what we are in him is precious.”

Neels takes up his position as Bible Society New Zealand CEO on 1 April.

Ukraine’s President visits the Bible Society office in Kyiv

For the first time ever, the President of Ukraine visited the Bible Society offices, marking a monumental moment in the Country’s history.

President Petro Poroshenko says “It is important that every politician reads the Bible. And not just once… The Bible Society carries out incredible mission. Many thanks to them for serving for over 25 years! Because of you, someone is able to open and read the Bible!”

President Petro Poroshenko writes in Handwritten Bible

The President also joined thousands of Christians and wrote in the Handwritten Bible, his text was Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). The Ukraine Bible Society would have never expected, or even thought of this in the past so this became a pinnacle moment of the Year of the Bible for the Country. Not only was this historical for the Bible Society but for the general Ukrainian society and Christian community. The Year of the Bible is a project aimed at drawing people’s attention to the values and principles taught in the Bible.

President Poroshenko also met with the leadership of all Ukrainian churches and the Bible Society staff to a receive report on the Year of the Bible. Poroshenko seemed positive about the impact the event had on the nation and encouraged churches and Ukraine’s Bible Society to continue installing biblical values to their nation.

The Ukraine Bible Society also shared the progress of their contemporary Bible translation into Ukrainian with the President and their plan is to have the full Bible published in mid-2019.

The Ukraine Bible Society extend their gratitude, for the prayers and support from all their sisters and brothers from around the world. Let us continue to pray that the Bible will reach many more hearts in Ukraine.

Two million more people have the full Bible in their language

More full Bibles than ever before are available in the widest number of languages to date.

At the start of 2019 some 5.6 billion people have access to the full Bible in 692 languages. These figures represent an increase of 200 million people and 18 languages on the 2017/18 figures when 5.4 billion people had access to a full Bible in 674 languages.

In addition, 1,547 languages used by 805 million people have the New Testament. Also, shorter portions of Scripture are available in a further 1,123 languages used by 411 million people.

Still waiting for the Bible

However, of the 7,111 languages in the world, 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible in their language. In total, 3,988 languages used by 246 million people don’t have any Scripture at all.

Pastor Cil Poh with his newly published Koho Bible

United Bible Societies critical translator

But there’s good advancement to date with Scripture translations in 66 languages used by 440 million people finished last year. This was achieved by Bible Societies worldwide working closely with churches and partner organisations.

Reaching young people

Bible Societies also published new or revised translations for 22 languages used by 363 million people that already have some Scripture, including the completion of five full Bibles. These fresh translations will help new generations be able to understand and engage with Scripture.

Eritrea in Africa gets first New Testament!

Letensea, age 42, celebrated with thousands of others at the launch of the very first New Testament in Eritrea in their language, Blin. “Today, I have received food that can fill us up more than anything in the world: this new Scripture speaks to our hearts!” she exclaimed.

After the celebration, copies of the new Scripture were loaded onto camels to take to villages and churches in remote areas.

Church leaders and County Government officials receive the unveiled revised Maasai Bible

Acceleration in Bible translation

There is a gathering momentum in Bible translation as the dream of every person on earth being able to access God’s word gets closer. Translation processes have benefitted from technology, with better software and online resources. Translation is increasingly owned by the community whose language is being translated.

Last year UBS embarked on a bold 20-year journey that aims to provide around 600 million people with new access to Scripture in their heart language. If Bible Societies receive the funding they need, this will involve the completion of 1,200 translation projects by 2038.

“Our 20-year vision and mission strategy builds on a legacy of sacrifice and generosity passed down by generations of faithful servants,” says UBS Director General Michael Perreau. “Now we continue that mission with fresh momentum by working more closely than ever before with partners around the world, including modern day Bible heroes living lives of sacrifice and dedication so that we all might have access to the life-giving word of God.”

You can bring the Easter story to Kiwi kids!

Just over 18 months ago, we embarked on a campaign designed to encourage and equip parents, grandparents and caregivers to pass on their passion for the Bible to the next generation.

Little did we know how big that campaign would become.

Yes, you read it right – with the help of our supporters, we’ve distributed 200,000 Bible storybooks to Kiwi kids through families, churches and other organisations. Our supporters have helped make this initiative a success, bringing the love of Jesus to many young New Zealanders through the Bible.

Thanks to the generosity of many people, children nationwide are now reading and engaging with the story of Jesus.

Some of them will have learned about Jesus for the very first time. Some of them will have learned what Easter and Christmas are really all about.

But it’s not only kids that are being impacted. Adults, too, are encountering these stories for the first time. One church in Auckland was asked to lead a children’s storytime session at their local library. They told the story of Easter, and gave out The Super Cool Story of Jesus book to families. One parent said she had never heard this story before.

This is what the church told us…

“We really felt we were giving the children something of worth and something that will remind them in the many Easters to come that it is about Jesus and the love he gave us.”

Making the Bible accessible and encouraging interaction with it is our mission, and it’s exactly what’s happening through these little Bible storybooks. Thanks to our supporters, thousands of children are receiving these books at street parades, community events, in Salvation Army Family Stores and food parcels, and through organisations like Angel Tree and Mainly Music.

TheSeriouslySurprisingStoryPostCoverNow, we have another opportunity to reach even more children with the story of Jesus.

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