A recent report from the United Bible Societies shows that God’s Word is bringing comfort, hope, and healing to conflict zones around the world.
The Bible bringing comfort
More people are displaced today than ever before – an unprecedented 65.6 million people have been forced from their homes across the globe. As crises unfold around the world, it has led to a huge demand for Scripture among people who long for God’s comfort, hope, and healing.In South Sudan, where four million people have been driven from their homes, Scripture distribution has increased dramatically. The Bible Society there has distributed more than 250,000 Bibles since the conflict began in 2013.
Along with local churches, the Ukrainian Bible Society is equipping Ukrainian soldiers and military chaplains with special editions of Bibles and New Testaments. The Ukrainian Bible Society distributed more than 190,000 Scriptures, many of them to people impacted by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. God’s Word has been provided to refugees, soldiers, and hospital patients. A special edition waterproof New Testament was produced for the military.
Amid tension, people are looking for the comfort and stability that is found in the Word of God.
Rev Oleksandr Babiychuk, Ukrainian Bible Society
A record number of Scripture portions – over 200,000 – were distributed in Syria in 2017. George Andrea, who leads the team of four Bible Society staff in Syria, said the Aleppo bookshop has remained open almost every day throughout the seven years of war.
During Christmas we organised our greatest distribution ever. You should see the children when they receive these gifts. They feel the Bible is a gift from God, special for them. In this way, we give children hope that God will help them pass through this bad time.
George Andrea, Bible Society in Syria
Nearly 355 million Scripture items distributed in 2017
Nearly 355 million Scripture items, including Bibles, Testaments, Gospels, and smaller Scripture items were distributed or downloaded in 2017. The number of full Bibles made available around the world topped 34 million for the third year running. UBS continues to be the largest translator and distributor of Scripture, with around 70% of the world’s full Bible translations having been provided by Bible Societies.
2017 marked the first year that Scripture downloads from the internet were recorded separately. Bible Societies around the world are using hundreds of different websites and smartphone apps to ensure that God’s Word is easily accessible on a range of devices.
Other good news featured in the report include:
- A number of Bible Societies marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a variety of activities and publications, including the German Bible Society that published a new edition of the Luther Bible, the Bible Society of Brazil that distributed more than 175,000 special edition Bibles and the Bible Society of South Africa that gave out 150,000 free Reformation booklets in English and Afrikaans.
- A record 1.3 million Bible booklets and leaflets were distributed in Egypt targeting new readers. In Egypt, two out of five people are functionally illiterate. The programme helps children and adults to improve their literacy skills through engaging with Scripture.
- In Zimbabwe, in the year that Robert Mugabe’s reign as president finally ended, Scripture distribution doubled. Almost 29,000 people received God’s Word in 2017.
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.