Could you imagine what life would be like without your Bible? How would your faith be different? What impact would the lack of a Bible have on your life? What would you miss most about God’s Word?
In the West we have near-immediate access to the Bible. Most of us probably own multiple copies. If not, many of our churches stock Bibles to share with members and visitors on Sundays. And of course we have convenient access to free Bible websites and apps on our smartphones.
Direct access to the Bible for the nearly 70% of the world’s evangelical Christians living in the Global South, however, is unusual.1 Consider Pastor German Banda’s small congregation in Lusaka, Zambia. Many of his members live in deep poverty, struggling to afford the maize meal that is their main food staple. And because Bibles in their community are more expensive than bags of meal, Pastor Banda estimates that only 25% of the people in his church own a Bible, with the rest forced to share or borrow.
Even in the face of physical poverty that plagues the 86% of Zambia's population living below the poverty line, spiritual hunger has multiplied. Evangelical Christianity in Zambia expanded from 28% to 86% over the past 50 years.2 As a result, these Christians recognize the Word of God as “the most valuable thing this world affords.”3
While we celebrate the growth of both the Zambian and global church, efforts to resource Christians and church leaders have not kept pace, and demand for the most fundamental resource—Bibles—is outpacing supply to an alarming extent. An estimated 11 million church ministry leaders in the Global South lack access to proper biblical training and resources.4 Further, many communities do not have the infrastructure available, or market to sustain, the long-term distribution of Bibles at locally affordable prices.
As a result, biblical illiteracy, spiritual malnourishment, and the transmission of false teaching run rampant. Without direct access to the Bible, some pastors are forced to preach from an incomplete or incorrect understanding of Scripture. Without Bibles of their own, church members are unable to learn God’s Word for themselves or hold their leaders’ words up to the light of truth (Acts 17:11).
For churches and communities in the Global South to flourish spiritually, Christians need direct access to God’s Word.
We invite you to partner with us in an effort to distribute 1 million ESV Bibles around the world. These Bibles will be freely provided to Christians in places of great need and strategically subsidized in other locations where the need is just as great but the current priority is building sustainable, long-term Bible distribution models. By partnering with churches, ministry networks, and other organizations in the Global South, our goal is to provide the Word of God to 1 million Christians who would otherwise not have access to their own Bibles.
Every $50 you give delivers ten copies of God’s Word into the hands of Christians in need and contributes to building sustainable Bible distribution channels for long-term impact. Would you prayerfully consider a gift to help distribute God’s Word to those with little or no access? Our overall goal for this initiative is to raise $5 million for the distribution of 1 million Bibles. In Phase 1, our aim is to raise $500,000 by December 31, 2022, funding the initial distribution of 100,000 Bibles.
God’s Word is life-giving and powerful. Through the Bible, Christians grow in their understanding of God and salvation and are equipped to share the Good News with others. Through the Bible, pastors and church leaders are strengthened to preach the gospel and shepherd Christ’s flock. Would you partner with us to give Christians in need the most valuable thing this world affords?
- Johnson, Todd M., and Gina A. Zurlo. 2020. World Christian Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- The Translation Oversight Committee, preface to the English Standard Version Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).
- Madson, Paul. Global Training Network, accessed August 29, 2022. https://gtn.org.
If you haven’t yet, please consider giving to help us reach our goal of raising $500,000 by December 31, 2022, to send 100,000 Bibles to Christians in need in the Global South.
Despite religious attacks on Christians since 2014, there is good reason to believe that more are coming to faith. These believers are in need of Bibles! Would you help?
We need the Bible. I am ready to distribute these Bibles in villages throughout rural Zambia. I will take 100 or 200 Bibles into multiple communities and give them to school children.
Your gift of $50 could provide 10 Bibles to a rural church where members have to share copies. $100 could equip 20 pastors with study Bibles so they can faithfully understand and preach God’s Word.
Your donation could help Ken Mbugua and others in places like Kenya to provide Bibles at discounted prices, and begin the work to build a sustainable, long-term solution to providing Bibles to believers all over the world.
Your gifts finance the distribution of Bibles to church members and pastors in Manila so that they grow as believers into those who are rightly handling the Word of Truth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Crossway is planning to distribute English language ESV study Bibles as well as a variety of ESV editions featuring other content or just the Bible text.
Crossway is providing a number of ways for supporters to give to this initiative. We can receive gifts of stock, monthly giving, planned giving, employer-matched giving, wire transfers, and phone, mail, or email.
If you have questions regarding Crossway’s ability to receive your donation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
100% of your gift will be used for the specific purpose of funding the distribution of 1 million Bibles, with Crossway covering all administrative costs.
Your gift of $50 could provide 10 Bibles to a rural church where members are sharing copies. $100 could equip 20 pastors with study Bibles so they can faithfully understand and preach God’s Word. $1,000 or more could provide Bibles to an entire church network and help make it possible for a community to sustain its own Bible distribution in future years.
Crossway has a large number of close ministry partnerships around the world, and will deliver many of these Bibles into the hands of recipients through these trusted networks. We will focus on the areas we and our ministry partners identified as having the greatest immediate need.
We anticipate distribution in dozens of English-speaking countries and territories, especially in Africa and Asia.
The first distribution projects funded by this initiative are already being planned and will begin in early 2023. Bibles will be distributed on an ongoing basis as funds are received during the course of the campaign. Our goal is for the distribution of all Bibles to be completed by the end of 2026.
The vast majority of these Bibles will be given away for free. However, in some communities, the most strategic way to meet the need for God’s Word is through assistance in building sustainable Bible distribution markets. Christians in these communities can afford to pay something for a Bible, and ministry partners on the ground are investing in the network infrastructure needed to sell and distribute Bibles at low, locally-appropriate prices for years to come.
In these communities, Crossway will provide Bibles at our manufacturing cost (no margin) and will use a portion of donated funds to underwrite shipping costs. This will enable our ministry partners in these regions to resell Bibles at affordable prices to those who desperately need a Bible, and to invest their proceeds toward distributing more Bibles.
Crossway will not profit from the sale of any Bibles subsidized by this initiative. We will sell Bibles at our manufacturing cost to ensure our partners can resell these Bibles at the most affordable prices possible.