1,8 billion Scriptures distributed in five years

By God’s grace, Bible Societies around the world had been able to achieve the incredible feat of distributing 1,8 billion Scriptures in the last five years, with 2019 being a record year for Bible provision.

Annual distribution of complete Bibles worldwide totalled 34 million in 2015, and by the end of the five-year period had risen to 40 million in 2019. This consistent increase revealed an ongoing demand for God’s Word – also demonstrating the commitment of Bible Societies to ensure that everyone who needed a Bible was able to get one.

The digital trend in global Bible distribution continued to surge with nearly a quarter of all Bibles being distributed via digital downloads compared to 17% in 2018.

All in all, Scripture distribution amounted to 315 million Scripture items in 2019.

Interestingly, nearly 3,7 million Scriptures designed specifically for children were distributed in 2019, 34% of which was distributed in Africa. Egypt, in particular, distributed the lion’s share – 1,1 million Children’s Scripture items.

Another heartening aspect that emerged from the distribution figures was the number of adults that were learning to read. Some 4,5 million booklets for new readers were distributed in 2019. Translation, literacy and distribution go hand in hand – and in 20 countries, literacy classes had been run for up to 165 000 people. Burkina Faso in Africa has materialised as a beacon of light. Despite having one of the worst rates of literacy in the world (two-thirds of the people do not read or write), translation teams responded by running parallel literacy classes in communities due to receive newly translated Scripture.

The Digital Bible Library (DBL), literally a digital storehouse, was set up in 2011. It stores Scripture translations, 75% being those of the United Bible Societies (UBS) and makes these available on apps and websites. Overall, the library holds 2 500 texts in 1 622 languages.

In 2019, the top five countries that distributed more than 18,3 million complete Bibles were: Brazil, China, the United States of America, India, and rounding out the top five was Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.

Finally, Portions of Scripture were being translated into 29 sign languages used by 5,3 million Deaf people worldwide in 2019, while 19 Bible Societies distributed Scripture in sign languages through video format.

Michael’s Perreau, Director General of the UBS reflected, “It’s heartening to know that, through our efforts in 2019, millions more people are able to face the challenges of 2020 with Scripture in their hands.”

This post was published on Friday 2 October 2020