A Lifeline of Faith: The Bible in China

Guo lived a life of faith in Jesus for almost 44 years before she held a Bible of her own. 

Guo became a Chrisitan in her early teens through the faithful witness of her elderly aunt. “She told me that there was a God who created the heavens and the earth, that the kingdom of heaven was near, and we needed to repent quickly.” With a simple faith, Guo believed and gave her life to Jesus. Guo had only her aunt’s Bible by which to anchor her faith, yet she held on to her aunt’s teaching.  

Throughout her life, Guo persevered in her faith, as she wrestled with health challenges, her son’s troubled teen years, and the subsequent break down of his marriage. Guo sought help and peace in Jesus through prayer, and counsel from her church pastor. Yet without the Bible, Guo’s understanding of God remained limited. “I wasn’t very clear about many things regarding my faith. I only knew that there is a God who created the heavens and the earth. I didn’t really know anything else as I didn’t have a Bible to read for myself.” 

Guo is one of the millions of Christians in China who long for their own Bible. This need among Chinese Christians led the United Bible Societies (UBS) to establish of the Amity Printing Company in 1986, with the first Bible printed in 1987, as Guo entered her mid-twenties. 

Mary Andrews, an Australian who was (amongst other things) a missionary to China, referred to Bible Society’s work in China in 1987, saying, “One of the most exciting things was to hear when I was in Nanjing last year about the way the Bible Society has been sponsoring a program to set up a project for a printing press called Amity Printing Company outside Nanjing. Where they have already started to print Bibles at the rate of some 200,000 roughly at a time to help meet the needs of a growing Christian population in China … Christians in China are making a tremendous impact on the life of China because although they might be only a minority … they are teaching people to work hard, to be loyal to the country, to care for other people, especially the underprivileged, and to live a good, moral life which everybody in China respects, probably more so than in most Western countries.” 

Since 1987, the United Bible Societies have supported the printing and distribution of 94 million Bibles printed and distributed across China through churches. In 2020, Guo was one of those who, at the age of 57 and after 44 years of living out her faith, received her first Bible. Upon receiving her Bible, Guo explained, “It is more than just a book; it is a lifeline, a source of hope, and the key to a beautiful life. Every word of the Bible has made a dwelling in my heart.” 

Even with the Bibles distributed so far, there are likely more Christians in China than there are Bibles. The Chinese church continues to grow; unofficial estimates indicate there are 100 million Chinese Christians now. UBS has supported Bible printing in China for over 30 years by supporting the cost of Bible paper, allowing more Bibles to be printed and making them more affordable. In 2024, the United Bible Societies, in partnership with Chinese Churches, have plans to distribute 70,000 free Bibles to Christians like Guo, who says, “Owning a Bible is not merely a desire; it is a spiritual necessity,” Guo said. “The Bible contains God’s teachings, and without it, my faith would be weak and incomplete, like a vessel floating on uncertain waters. I would feel like a sheep without a home.” 

The impact of the Bible in Guo’s life extends beyond herself; she credits the word of God for transforming her and strengthening her faith. In turn, her life and testimony have deeply influenced many others, prompting them to place their trust in Jesus. As she reads her Bible, Guo has found joy in knowing God and his will. Her faith and prayers are now guided by the Bible, which is her light. 

If you would like to support Bible distribution in China, please visit biblesociety.org.au/asia to find out more. 

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