Has Bible Society got a place in the modern world? There is not a single week in which it does not outsell all competitors by a very wide margin.

Here are a few more breath-taking facts and figures.

  • Bible Society distributed no less than 34 million bibles globally in 2016.
  • More than 6.5 million for bibles were distributed in Africa alone in that year. By 2020, half of all Africans are expected to be Christian.
  • The Bible was produced in 30 languages for the first time in 2016. In other words, 30 people groups were able to read God’s word for the first time in their lives in their heart language.
  • 80,000 people learned to read through Bible Society literary projects.
  • Beyond that, 15,300 people who were left traumatised or made homeless by war received Christian counselling in 2016.
  • Supporters, like us here at St John’s, donated more than £11 million last year to make all
    of this happen.

As in Africa, the church in China just keeps on growing. Today, you find churches so full that their congregations spill onto the pavement. More Bibles are printed in communist China than anywhere else in the world! Almost 731,000 people received a free or subsidised Bible in 2016.

It isn’t all good news

Although global demand has never been higher, here in Britain, it is
viewed by many people as insignificant and irrelevant. Nine out of ten people in the UK have no regular engagement with the Bible.

Next January, we will be having a visitor from Bible Society. It feels like a long way away, but this was the first Sunday that Rachael Markham, recently appointed in this area, could give me! She will have many more things to tell us about what Bible Society are doing to help people in Britain gain confidence in the Scriptures.