New Zealand leads the way in global Bible reading campaign

A month after the launch of the global Bible reading campaign Bible 2020, there are more participants from New Zealand than from any of the other 98 countries involved.

New Zealanders make up 23% of the more than 11,000 global active users of the Bible 2020 app.

Zhane Tahau Whelan and Stephen Opie at Bible 2020 launch

Bible 2020, which was officially launched at Okitu Beach in Gisborne on New Year’s morning, is an initiative designed to encourage Christians to proclaim God’s Word out loud in their communities in their heart language. Users can film themselves reading the daily passage and upload it to the video wall where they can watch people from all over the world reading the same passage.

More than 5,700 videos have been uploaded to the wall following the very first official video which was done in te Reo Māori by Zhane Tahau Whelan of the Anglican Church in Gisborne. By the end of January, app downloads had increased across the world by more than 47%.

“New Zealand plays an important role in the campaign, which has been described as like a Mexican wave of Bible reading originating here each morning,” Stephen Opie from Bible Society New Zealand says. “It was really important that we launch the campaign strongly and build a firm foundation for the rest of the world to follow. These latest statistics of where people are using the Bible 2020 app show that we did exactly that!”

Bible 2020 campaign creator, Fiona McDonald

Fiona McDonald from the Bible Society of Scotland, who designed the campaign, attended the launch at Okitu Beach. “Because it’s a global project, we wanted to start the first reading where the sun comes up first in the world, and that’s here in New Zealand,” Fiona said at the launch. “Throughout the next 24 hours, there will be end to this day in Hawaii, where we will have people reading the same verses as we read this morning.

“But then there will be another day and another day, and there will be an ending to Bible 2020. But there is no end to God, because he’s the beginning and the end. And that’s what we hope, as the Bible is read aloud this year, that people will come to realise that God is in all things,” she said.

Bible 2020 continues to grow and spread rapidly around the world. To participate, download the app from the Google Play or Apple app stores.