Ghana women with Bibles

A recent report from the United Bible Societies shows that, for the third year in a row, Bible Societies across the world have distributed more than 400 million Scripture items – a figure that includes 34 million Bibles. The 2016 total reached 401.4 million, which included Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and smaller Scripture items like booklets for people learning to read.

Since the beginning of the decade, Bible Societies worldwide have distributed enough Scripture material for two out of every five people on the planet.

2016 UBS Global Bible Distribution statistics

Increase in the digital Bible

In addition to printed media, the distribution on non-print Bibles such as digital downloads, CDs and DVDs has more than doubled across the world in 2016, driven in part by the growing demand for accessing the Bible via smartphones and devices. In 2010, fewer than 200,000 non-print Bibles were distributed. Six years later, this figure now sits at over three million.

The trend mirrors growing internet usage around the world, with 45% of the world population now having access to the internet. By 2020, it is predicted that seven out of every ten people on the planet will own a smartphone.

Bible Societies are extremely successful at printing Bibles, and now we are right at the forefront of digital Bible mission too.
Nelson Saba, Digital Publishing Strategist, United Bible Societies

Worldwide digital Bible distribution since 2010

A million Bibles for Iranians

The Iranian Bible Society, which supplies Persian Scriptures to Iranian Christians around the world, has made God’s Word available to more than 1.5 million people in 2016. In addition to 1 million digital Bibles, they also distributed 500,000 non-print New Testaments, and 7,500 print Bibles and almost 10,000 print New Testaments.

The figure of one million Bibles is a very conservative estimate. The reality is a much larger impact. We are using multiple platforms – satellite TV, radio, the internet, micro SD cards and intranet – to distribute audio and digital versions of the Today’s Persian Version Bible in many shapes and formats.
Nahid Sepehrifard, Iranian Bible Society

Other highlights

Other good news featured in the report included:

  • In Bangladesh, where nine out of ten people are Muslim, the Bible Society team has distributed more than eight times as many New Testaments as in the previous year. Altogether, they provided over 100,000 New Testaments across the country.
  • Despite tensions and volatility in the region, the Palestinian Bible Society distributed fives times as many New Testaments in 2016 compared to 2015.
  • More than 350,000 Bibles were distributed in Cuba. The distribution effort here is part of the ‘One Million Bibles for Cuba’ campaign which has been running since 2013.

Please continue to pray for the work and mission both of the Scottish Bible Society, and Bible Societies across the world.

The Scottish Bible Society is a founding member of the United Bible Societies (UBS) – a network of Bible Societies operating in over 200 countries and territories around the world who believe the Bible is for everyone and are working towards the day when everyone can access the Bible in the language and medium of their choice.