Bible Societies

Bible Societies exist in approximately 200 countries. The aim, which has not changed since its foundation over 200 years ago, is to reach every person with the Bible or some part of it in a language they can understand and at a price they can afford.

How did the Bible Society begin?

In 1800 Mary Jones aged 15 set out on a 26 mile walk through her homeland of North Wales. She had a single aim – to buy one of the Welsh Bibles which had been delivered to the town of Bala. The money she took with her had taken six years to save. Her patience and determination were rewarded when Mary at last received the scriptures in her native language.

In 1802 the Reverend Thomas Charles who had sold Mary her bible recounted her story to a meeting of The Religious Tract Society and shared his concern at the great shortage of Bibles for the Welsh people. The Reverend Joseph Hughes on hearing of this said, “Surely a society might be formed for this purpose – but if for Wales why not the kingdom - why not the world?” So on 7th March 1804 such a society, now known as the Bible Society was formed.

Today’s aim is not just to provide the Word or have people read the Word but in seeing people living the Word - a challenge for all Christians - young and old.

In 2010 the Bible Society has over 40 projects worldwide to enable those without Bibles to receive them. However, the two largest projects are:-
a) CHINA - where over 12 million Bibles will be printed by Amity Press, with approximately half of those printed staying in China. As the Christian population in China grows (some estimates put it at 90?million!) so the need for Bibles grows ever greater.?
b) VIETNAM - obviously a much smaller country but great things are happening there also?with many thousands of converts. Again the need for Bibles is great in that country.

In both cases it is important for new Christians to be able to read God’s word for themselves and not just rely on other people telling them what the Bible says. In contrast to the vast numbers in China and the large numbers in Vietnam, we at St. Thomas’ have agreed to financially support the work in Albania - a tiny country. This commitment which started in 2009, is for a three year period initially. After years of Christian suppression and destruction of Bibles and Christian literature, the country is now relatively open to Christian work. Since it was formed 11 years ago, the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania (IBSA) has focused on translating the Bible. It has successfully launched the Interconfessional New Testament and plans to translate the Old Testament are also under way. The Society is also working on producing Bible study resources and Bibles for the youth of the country.

Our support for the next few years will play a small part in making these developments possible. We shall be receiving information about the work on a regular basis.