What does Bible Society do?
For over 200 years Bible Society has been working to bring the Bible to life; to help people around the world engage with it, relate to it, and make sense of it. In some parts of the world, bringing the Bible to life focuses on translation and distribution projects. Elsewhere it focuses on leadership training, or literacy programmes, or interfaith dialogue. Closer to home, in England and Wales, it focuses on advocacy effort, schools outreach and devotional resources.
As part of United Bible Societies, Bible Society is now active in over 200 countries and regions. Through their translation work, they make the Bible available in new spoken and signed languages, as well as revising existing Bibles to bring the language up-to-date. To meet the individual needs and demands of the millions wanting the Scriptures, their production facilities not only print physical copies but also produce visual, audio and digital forms. The distribution network takes the Bible to places it might otherwise be hard to come by, and by empowering people to read, using the Book as a reference, literacy is improved.
In China more than a million new believers come to faith every year. Over decades, working with the Chinese authorities, Bible Society has carved out a unique ministry in China. Such is the increase in new believers that here is now an acute shortage of trained pastors in China, with only one trained minister for every 6,700 Christians nationally. It means pastors and preachers must often spread themselves between five or six churches, with congregants hearing their pastor preach perhaps once every two months. Bible Society provides Bible study materials and run training classes to help trainee pastors understand the Scriptures and bring them to life in their local churches. And Chinese Christians are coming to Britain. ‘Chinese are now the biggest ethnic group of Christians in the UK,’ says Arleen Luo, Bible Society’s Manager of Chinese Mission. ‘The Chinese Church has tripled in size, and the landscape of the Church has really dramatically changed.’ Bible Society is working to provide Chinese Bibles, which are currently not available in Britain.
The number of people in Ukraine asking for Bibles has more than doubled since the war began. Ukraine is a largely Christian country with 71 per cent professing the faith. However, uptake in Bible reading has grown during the war. In 2020, the Ukrainian Bible Society distributed 136,767 Bibles. In the first nine months of last year that figure more than doubled to 359,000. “Living surrounded by death has caused people to ask questions about life,” said Anatoliy Raychynets, deputy general secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society. ‘I have personally delivered several thousands of Bibles from hand to hand. ‘It is light in the darkness. Whatever happens in Ukraine, we will come out of the situation a really Christian nation who pray together and trust in God.’
At home, Bible Society, working with prison chaplains and prisoners directly, aims to improve access to Bibles and Bible engagement materials in whatever language prisoners need, in the belief that by engaging with the Bible their lives can be changed, for good. Bible Society has introduced a Prisons Edition of the Bible Course to help prisoners on their journey with the world’s bestseller.
If you would like to find out more, or wish to buy any Bible Society resources, please look at the Bible Society website: www.biblesociety.org.uk