The distribution of non-print Bibles such as digital downloads, CDs, Scripture texts and DVDs has more than doubled across the world in 2016, driven by the growing demand for Bibles on our phones and devices. More than three million non-print Bibles were distributed in 2016, up from less than 1.3 million in 2015. There’s been an even sharper increase since 2010, when the Fellowship distributed less than 200,000 non-print Bibles in a year. The trend mirrors growing internet use around the world. Around 45% of the world’s population now have access to the internet, and by 2020 seven out of every 10 people on the planet will own a smartphone. We spend more time on our phones than any other media.
At the end of 2016, Bible Society of Brazil reached the milestone of 150 million Bibles and New Testaments produced at its Bible Press since 1995. It’s one of the largest printing plants in the world primarily for the production of Scriptures. Executive Director Rudi Zimmer said, “In recent decades, more than in any other period, Brazilian churches have been involved in spreading the Word, making Brazil the largest field of Holy Scripture distribution around the world today.”
The full report, with comments on numerous countries seeing a sudden spike in Bible distribution in 2016 can be found here: www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Bible-distribution-in-2016.pdf
SWINDON, England, Oct. 20, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — 2014 saw the highest number of printed Bibles ever distributed by Bible Societies around the world. Nearly 34 million full Bibles were distributed, a rise of 6% over 2013’s figures, and 14% higher than the number distributed in the first year of the decade.
The figures are taken from the United Bible Societies’ Scripture Distribution Report, produced annually, which compiles Scripture distribution figures reported by Bible Societies.
In total, 428.2 million Scriptures were distributed by Bible Societies in 2014, including full Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and other smaller Scripture items – representing a 7% and a 17% increase over 2013 and 2010 respectively.
The region reporting the highest distribution in 2014, consistent with previous years, is the Americas, with 341.5 million Scriptures, including 14.4 million full Bibles. This region has seen significant year-on-year increases in Scripture distribution in the first five years of the decade, its 2014 figure nearly 20% higher than 2010’s.
Far more Scriptures were distributed in Brazil than in any other country in the world. Its 7.6 million full Bibles account for more than half of the total Bible distribution in the Americas, and more than a fifth of last year’s global Bible distribution. In total, the Bible Society of Brazil distributed 288.7 million Scriptures – more than two thirds of the global total.
Although Brazil’s distribution figures have always been high, largely due to the Bible Society’s comprehensive program of social outreach and its good relationship with all churches, last year’s figures were partly boosted by the many thousands of Scriptures handed out during the FIFA World Cup.
“Brazilians are football mad, and the World Cup was a wonderful opportunity to share God’s Word with the many football fans who were celebrating the tournament,” comments Bible Society Executive Director Dr Rudi Zimmer.
Cuba’s figures tell a story of rapid church growth, which is fuelling an enormous demand for Scriptures. Last year, 1.5 million Scriptures were distributed there – more than double the total distributed in 2010. And four times the number of full Bibles were distributed there last year compared with 2013, thanks to the United Bible Societies’ Cuba Million Bible Mission project, which aims to provide one million full Bibles to Christians in Cuba.
Africa’s overall Scripture distribution figures fluctuate from year to year, but it has seen a steady increase in the distribution of full Bibles since the start of the decade. The 7.3 million Bibles distributed there in 2014 represent a 31% rise over the number distributed in 2010.
Nigeria and South Africa continue to be the Scripture distribution giants of Africa, at around 4.5 million and 1.5 million copies respectively, but some notable increases are taking place in smaller countries. The troubled Central African Republic, for instance, has seen its annual Scripture distribution triple from just under 9,000 in 2010 to nearly 29,000 in 2014, most of which were full Bibles.
In Europe and the Middle East, the 7.9 million Scriptures distributed last year represent an increase of almost 12% over 2010. The number of Testaments being distributed has been rising particularly fast. (The vast majority of the Testaments were New Testaments.) Last year, 2.8 million Testaments were distributed in the region – 23% higher than in 2013, and 126% higher than in 2010.
The rises happened in some surprising places. More than five times the number of Testaments were distributed in war-torn Syria in 2014 than in 2010, before the conflict began. And, in the midst of one of the most difficult years in Ukraine’s recent history, last year the Bible Society there distributed nearly 70,000 New Testaments – 48% more than in 2012 and 10 times more than in 2010.
Asia – the world’s most populous region – saw a 6% increase in Scripture distribution between 2013 and 2014. Some notable increases have taken place over the first five years of the decade in several Asian countries, including the two giants – India and China, which distributed 22% and 10% more in 2014 than in 2010. The Philippines – Asia’s largest Christian nation – distributed 42% more Scriptures in 2014 than in 2010, and Myanmar an impressive 45% more.
In addition to distributing a record number of printed Scriptures in 2014, Bible Societies also reported significant increases in the distribution of non-print Scripture items. (These include Scripture-based products on CDs, cassettes, DVDs, mp3s, texts and internet downloads, but do not include Bible Society Scripture texts accessed through apps such as YouVersion or BibleSearch.) More than two million Scriptures were distributed in that way in 2014, 8% more than in 2013 and three times the figure for 2010.
United Bible Societies is a fellowship of Bible Societies operating in more than 200 countries and territories. Together, they are the world’s biggest translator, publisher and distributor of the Bible. Bible Societies are also active in areas such as HIV/AIDS prevention, trauma healing and literacy. Bible Societies work with all Christian Churches and many international non-governmental organisations. For more information visit www.unitedbiblesocieties.org.
SWINDON, England, June 18, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — The Christian community in Jordan and Lebanon has become a key source of practical and emotional support for thousands of Syrians who have lost everything.
When Syrian refugees started pouring into Jordan three years ago, heading for the border town of Mafraq, the Bible Society of Jordan and a local church were among the first organisations to spring into action.
“More and more Syrians are fleeing here in fear for their lives,” noted Munther Al-Namat, who leads the Bible Society of Jordan. “They need help, love and care.”
And that’s just what a team from the Bible Society and local churches has been offering, despite opposition from some radical Muslim groups. It helps those not in UNHCR’s Al Zaatri camp find somewhere to live, and it provides monthly aid packages for 500 Syrian families who have little or no other means of support.
“The Lord sent you to me,” Faraj, a former art teacher, told the Bible Society. Thanks to help from Christians in Mafraq, he and his family are renting a two-roomed house and have mattresses to sleep on and food to eat. He has been deeply moved by the friendship and help offered by Christians.
The Bible Society also offers trauma healing training to church volunteers to help them give appropriate emotional support to the refugees they visit. Their support has made a big difference to many refugees.
“Whenever I feel down I go to the church to talk to people there,” says Awatef. “It brings me such relief. Sometimes I just go there to sit by myself and cry and talk to God.”
Churches also host special women’s groups, dinner activities and children’s play groups, all of which help the refugees feel part of a community.
“Thousands of refugees have almost daily contact with Christians,” notes Mr Al-Namat, “and they are experiencing the love that has been planted in our hearts by our faith.”
In Lebanon, the Bible Society is providing aid for around 3,000 Syrian families – some in camps and others in very poor suburbs of Beirut.
“They are so grateful for the help,” says Lebanon Bible Society General Secretary Mike Bassous. “During a recent aid distribution in a camp the refugees started singing to us.
“But it’s not always easy – in another camp our volunteers were attacked by some religious leaders. The refugees told them to leave the Christians alone because they were helping. They told our team, ‘Please come back. You’re always welcome here.’
“Please pray as we reach out to show God’s love to Syrian refugees who have suffered so much.”
United Bible Societies is a fellowship of Bible Societies operating in more than 200 countries and territories. www.unitedbiblesocieties.org