Bible Access in 2020

By Catherine Little

I have been really moved by the UK Blessing – a collaboration of worship leaders from across the UK who sing the Aaronic Blessing from Numbers 6.  You can listen to it here:

This song uses words that many of us are very familiar with:

‘The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’ (Numbers 6: 24 – 26).

We are familiar with these words because they are available in our language.  For millions of people around the world they have never heard these words of promise and hope from the Bible in their own language.  In 2020 less than 10% of the world’s languages have a complete Bible, for example, the Genesis to Revelation that we often take for granted in our culture.

Coronavirus has changed so much in our world, in our country, in our communities and in our own homes.  We are no longer able to go about life in the way we did.  Our journeys are for essential reasons and not just a whim or a fancy.  Even our food shopping is done differently, thinking ahead more, planning more and not just buying for the next meal. 

In all of this though we have had God’s Word.  We have seen as a nation how creative our church leaders are in moving church worship online.  We have seen an increase in people asking questions about faith, about prayer and about the Bible.  Many of us will have spent more time reading God’s Word in recent weeks, finding comfort and hope and blessing in the Old and New Testament. 

Bible Access Around the World in 2020

Bible access statistics are sober reading.  What about the millions that don’t have access to any Scripture in their language? What about those that only have a Gospel available or just the New Testament?  Does this burden us?  It burdens me.

Bible Societies around the world are involved in Bible Translation, Printing and Distribution.  Bible Mission needs resourced in these days more than ever.  Here in Northern Ireland we support projects around the world that mean that people have the opportunity to engage with the Bible in a language and format that is best for them.  You can read more about these projects and support our work on our website.

Bible Society in Northern Ireland is part of a global fellowship called United Bible Societies.  There is a Bible Society in almost every country in the world and in the last few weeks I have heard from my friends and colleagues about how life is where they are.  For many, existing challenges are more difficult; in Syria, for example, my friend George and his team had to close their book shop because of Coronavirus, that same book shop had stayed open throughout the war.  From others I have heard stories of hope and increased opportunity to share the good news of the Bible using technology.

Our mission statement is to ‘Reach everyone with God’s Word’.  With your support we can reach even more with the Bible.

I know how important the Bible has been to me in recent weeks – I want more people to have access to the Bible so they can read promises like Numbers 6 in their own language too.