Our belief is that the Bible is the Word of God and consequently, the Word of truth. Part of our commitment is to help get the Bible into the hands of the people in Asia who are crying out for it and cannot access it any other way – but what format of Scripture is best? In this sophisticated, technological age where the Bible can be accessed and even possessed in a variety of different media, is there still a need for hard copies to be distributed?
On a trip to Kurdistan last year, I came across a young man from a Yazidi background who had been given a Bible and had been reading it. The Holy Spirit spoke into his life and began to apply the truth of what he was reading to his heart. Unfortunately, his father did not want him to read the Bible and took it from him. Thankfully, because of technology, he was able to access the Bible using his smartphone and spent months devouring the truth in it that the Holy Spirit was revealing to him.
God broke into his life through the Bible in an incredible way. This young man has now given his life to tell other people of the Jesus whom he has come to know – through the Bible. Imagine what the situation might have been had he not been able to access it via his phone. It is crucial therefore that we use the technology available to get the Word of God into the hands of people.
But is there still a need for what we might call ‘hard copies’?
Come with me to a village in South–East Asia where there is no reliable supply of electricity and no running water into the bamboo stilt houses with banana leaf roofs. In these villages, the people live hand–to–mouth and many don’t have mobile phones or any kind of technology. How are they going to access the Bible if they have no hard copy?
I recently read the stories of two men in Myanmar who were from very different backgrounds – one Buddhist and one nominally Christian. They found themselves in prison in different parts of the country. These prisons were visited by some Christians who shared the story of Jesus and handed out copies of the New Testament in Burmese, asking that the prisoners read them.
The two men, both of whom are serving lengthy sentences, did as they were asked and in the reading of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit convicted them of their sin and they gave their lives to Christ. Given that there is no access to mobile phones or computers in these prisons, the men were given hard copies of the Bible and the God of the Bible spoke into their hearts and lives, transforming them, bringing love, hope and forgiveness.
Across Asia, people’s lives are being transformed through reading God’s Word and having its truth applied to their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Whether it be via hard copy or accessed digitally – it is the same story from the same book being told but through different media.
If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God and the truth of God, then we must immerse ourselves in it, take seriously the plight of people in Asia who don’t have the same access to it and get Bibles into their hands via whatever media we can – yes, including hard copies.