Bible Society

The Bible Society exists because millions lack the Bible in a language they can understand, in a form they can use or at a price they can afford. At the same time millions still have no understanding of the Bible’s value for them and their communities.

We call this Bible poverty.

The vision we have
We are working to see a day when the Bible’s God-given revelation, inspiration and wisdom is shaping the lives and communities of people everywhere.

Our task is urgent. This is because of what people, communities and nations lose when the Bible’s life-changing message is not theirs.

Our task is huge:

  • More than 4,400 languages still wait for even one book of the Bible.
  • Though a billion people can’t read, only 3 per cent of languages have the Bible in audio.
  • Every 5 seconds, someone goes blind but the complete Braille Bible exists in only 35 languages.
  • In our own country the Bible is no longer a point of reference for everyday life.
  • Christians often lack the confidence to apply the Bible’s message in a society that increasingly sees it as irrelevant.

The work we are doing
Around the world we work in partnership with 140 other national Bible Societies, helping them respond to the needs and opportunities they face.

In England and Wales

  • We work especially with the worlds of the media, politics, arts and education to show how the Bible connects with life.
  • We resource and help churches and their members have confidence in the Bible by living it out.
  • We have programmes to make the Bible available for prisoners, refugees and people in special need.

Translating the Bible
More than half the world’s 6,912 languages still wait for even one book of the Bible. We are presently involved in more than 550 translation and retranslation projects.

These projects will meet needs including:

  • Ending the struggle of people trying to understand the Bible in a language not their own.
  • Giving people an accurate translation of the Bible where they have been vulnerable to a distorted understanding due to the existing poor or outdated translation.
  • Bringing the Bible for the first time to those who have never been able to hear or read it in a language they understand.

The Bible for non-readers
For millions, having the Bible in a printed format is of little or no help at all. This is an issue for those who don’t read, are blind or deaf. Most live in the world’s poorest countries and communities.

Our commitment to everyone being able to personally encounter the Bible’s life-changing message means putting the Bible into:

  • Audio – for the billion people in the world who can’t read, and for those living in cultures where telling and hearing stories is the natural way to communicate.
  • Braille – for more than 800 million blind or visually-impaired people in the world.
  • Sign language – for thousands of deaf or hearing-impaired people whose natural way to communicate is in this dynamic, expressive language.

Making the Bible affordable
A billion people in our world live on just 60p a day. That makes owning a Bible a luxury they can’t afford.

More than that, it is among these poor communities that the Church is growing fast – including China, Nepal, Vietnam and many parts of Africa. This creates an urgent need for the Bible at a price people can afford. For some, like prisoners and refugees, that means free of charge.

Demonstrating the Bible’s relevance
In our own country the Bible is readily available and affordable. But the Bible is no longer shaping the nation or enriching its life.

Landmarks include ‘Winterval’ replacing Christmas, ‘faith’ words omitted from a children’s dictionary and fewer people knowing the Bible’s stories. And the Bible is no longer seen as a reference point for everyday life.

This is why we are:

  • Working with key influencers – in the media, education, politics and the arts – to help them see the Bible’s connection with today’s issues.
  • Running initiatives designed to make the Bible, rather than religion, the issue and for it to be taken seriously and viewed positively.

Equipping the Church
Many assume Christians are avid Bible readers and well able to live out what it has to say. The reality is that most churchgoers:

  • Seldom read the Bible.
  • Lack confidence in their knowledge of the Bible.
  • Struggle to apply the Bible’s message to their daily lives or the decisions they make.

This is the reason we are working to help churchgoers and their leaders engage with the Bible more effectively. This includes:

  • You’ve Got the Time by which a church listens to the whole New Testament together in 40 days.
  • lyfe, a way for small groups to relate the Bible to their daily lives


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