As millions of Christians around the world marked Good Friday, an international Bible ministry observed its 70th Anniversary with thanks to God for a multitude of blessings, and prayers for His leading into the future.
Since 1938, Chicago-based Bible League and its partners have helped provide more than 730 million Scriptures worldwide.
"Bible League remains committed to serving churches worldwide by providing Bibles and training to indigenous Christians who share the transforming Gospel of Christ," the ministry expressed in a public announcement.
"Through evangelistic and discipling Bible studies, people 'meet' Jesus in the Bible," Bible League noted. "Many commit their lives to Him and continue to grow in faith by the power of God's Word. Christians trained by Bible League also establish new churches in areas where there are none."
According to the ministry, it was a simple prayer that launched Bible League's mission to send God's Word into action. A church elder had asked God to spare the life of William Chapman, a desperately ill Chicago-area businessman, and give him a new life dedicated to kingdom service. When Chapman recovered in 1938, he and his wife went door-to-door in Walkerton, Ind., giving a Bible to anyone in need in exchange for a promise to read it.
"The desire to help lead people to Christ through God's Word has expanded to Bible League's present ministry of placing Bibles into waiting hands in more than 60 countries," the group reported.
This year, league's board, staff, and volunteers adopted a new vision to train 10 million nationals to engage 100 million people in the study of God's Word through the placement of Bibles and New Testaments by the year 2020.
"We fully embrace John 4:35," said Bob Cole, president of Bible League, in the ministry's announcement. "'Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!' Scripture's direction is not muddy—it's very clear. Bible League is uniquely positioned to help reap the harvest. We already share the goals of Vision 2020 with our partners, so we just need to move ahead together!"
This month, Bible League kicked off its four-month long radio campaign, entitled "Don't Make Them Wait," in an effort to provide Bibles to believers in China – where they are desperately needed and desired.
"There is a tremendous, on-going need for Bibles in China," reported Mike Southworth, Bible League's executive vice president of ministry, in a released statement. "As the body of Christ continues to grow significantly, God's Word is needed to empower, encourage, and help believers to develop spiritually."
With this year's radio campaign, the ministry is encouraging donors to provide more than 87,000 Bibles to Christians in China, where there is only an estimated one Bible for every 100 Christians.
In addition to the short supply of Bibles, Christians in China face continually tighter restrictions on religious activities. Bible League noted that as the persecution of the "underground" church movement continues, many of China's believers are forced to adapt and find new ways to worship, fellowship, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For this year's campaign, Christian radio stations and networks across the country will once again partner with Bible League. Participating groups include American Family Radio (AFR), WAWZ in New York, WRBS in Baltimore, WCSG in Grand Rapids, Mich., KWVE in Los Angeles, and KGNW in Seattle.
Last year's radio campaign provided more than 220,000 Bibles to believers in China. Altogether, in 2007, Bible League provided more than 520,000 Bibles and New Testaments to Chinese believers.