The need has never been greater to advocate for the Bible, God’s eternal revelation of truth for humanity. Yet there are many countries around the world where Bible Societies struggle to maintain a core presence in their community and need help to continue to advocate for God’s word.
Each year, the United Bible Societies (UBS) ensures that Bible advocacy work can continue around the world, by supporting the core presence of Bible Societies in countries where support for the work is limited. UBS has an International Support Programme, through which resources can be shared within the UBS Fellowship. Chris explains, “There are Resourcing Bible Societies and Implementing Bible Societies. Resourcing Bible Societies make it possible for Implementing Bible Societies to carry out the mission work.” An example of this support work is the Solidarity Fund, into which Resourcing Bible Societies contributed during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, enabling other Bible Societies to remain open. This Solidarity Fund work is ongoing.
When it comes to the supporting Bible Advocacy work within the UBS Fellowship, Belinda Faulks, Missions Relationship and Project manager for BSA, emphasises the importance of this work. “We’re not interested in going in and doing the work for them, but we’re seeking to equip, empower and enable them to do it themselves. It’s up to Bible Societies who have the resources to help them, so they can advocate within their local context.
In Bible advocacy, three areas work together: Core Presence, Capacity Building and Advocacy. Belinda explains, “We meet each Bible Society where they’re at, and support their individual needs. When we work with Bible Society PNG, their areas of need are staffing, resources, internet capabilities, infrastructure. Bible Society South Pacific needed different things – a reliable vehicle for Bible distribution trips, laptops, and training. On the other hand, the Arab Israeli Bible Society are established in their advocacy work, but their funding is limited, so BSA meets their need for assistance to function, to maintain a core presence. In other countries like China and Vietnam, we directly support their advocacy projects. So, our support depends on the individual needs of Implementing Bible Societies.”
In 2023, 13 Bible Societies (including Australia, the 5th biggest contributor) are supporting the core presence of other Bible Societies around the world.
“Please pray for those on the ground where it’s a lot harder than we experience here in Australia,” asks Chris. “They are just surviving, trying to do God’s work, in dangerous situations. Give thanks to God that there are passionate people willing to make that sacrifice.”
BSA is committed to this work of advocating for the Bible. “Help us help them,” says Belinda, “so the Bible can be advocated for in these countries.”