Thirty million full Bibles were distributed worldwide last year by Bible Societies despite the pandemic, according to the latest figures.
In total, 190 million Scripture items, including New Testaments and portions of the Bible, were distributed thanks to the kind giving of Bible Society supporters.
But in a year marked by lockdown restrictions, economic challenges, and considerable emotional suffering, Bible mission did suffer, but there was also good news.
The distribution of Bibles actually fell by 37 per cent, no doubt due to ‘stay-at-home’ orders, but online downloads increased by 113 per cent. As internet access around the world continues to increase, we can be confident that more people will be able to experience Scripture. In 2020, 38 per cent of all full Bibles distributed were internet downloads – up from 25 per cent in the previous year.
In many countries, such as Egypt, which we reported on recently, Bible Societies have made huge drives forward in online Bible mission activity. There is confidence that this will reap great dividends in years to come.
Ramez Attalah, who oversaw a digital revolution in Bible mission in Egypt after the pandemic struck, said, ‘The kind giving of our brothers and sisters in England and Wales is helping us build a Digital Media Hub, which will accommodate a huge indexed online library. For example, a user will find not just the Bible text, but also an audio reading, dramatised children’s stories, colouring pages, quizzes, study notes, educational videos, maps and so on.’
Following a decade of encouraging growth in Scripture distribution, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic posed considerable difficulties, not just to Scripture distribution, but to ongoing Bible ministry around the world. In early 2020, a survey among Bible Societies indicated that around 30 were in ‘critical’ condition and another 65 were ‘at risk’ if restrictions continued.
The Solidarity Fund (aka Rescue and Recovery Fund) was established to help struggling Bible Societies, and it was supported by people like you.
The goal of the campaign was to ensure that Bible Societies whose operations had been particularly badly hit were able to keep their doors open and continue Bible ministry – including Scripture distribution.
Bible Societies, large and small, began contributing to the fund to help their struggling sister Societies and they were able to do this through the generosity of Bible Society supporters.
The financial assistance given to these struggling Bible Societies was supplemented by a Scripture donation programme worth almost £400,000 which enabled the provision of Scriptures at a time of great need.
This support, from Bible Societies, their supporters and church partners, has allowed Bible distribution to continue around the world.
To date, more than 30 Bible Societies have received support, with further applications currently in process at the time of writing.
Please pray that we are able to continue to meet the need for the Bible around the world.
Author: Bible Society, 21 October 2021 (Last updated: 27 October 2021)
Leading Chinese biblical scholar ‘Uncle Wong’ asks for prayer for China as his new book is published by Bible Society.
The Magi Initiative in Cambridge rounded off with a clear declaration of the need to share the pain of Christians under pressure in the world.