Last year 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. Dr Rudi Zimmer, Bible Society of Brazil, Executive Director
The increase in Bible distribution happened in some of the most deprived areas around the world. Cuba saw a major increase. Last year 1.5 million Scriptures were distributed there – more than double the total distributed in 2010. These figures show the Cuban Church is thriving as there is an enormous demand for Scriptures in the area.
Africa’s Scripture distribution has varied from year to year, but has seen a steady increase in Bibles. The 7.3 million Bibles given out there in 2014 represent a 31% rise over the number distributed in 2010.
The United Bible Societies has also reported that more than five times the number of Testaments were distributed in Syria in 2014 than in 2010, before the conflict began.
The Scottish Bible Society is a founding member of the United Bible Societies.