Bibles for All – The Inspiration Behind the Bible Society
Think for a moment about something you really want. How much would you spend to buy it? How far would you go to get it?
Young Mary knew what she wanted. It took years before she could afford it. She was ready to walk twenty five miles over mountainous terrain to get it. Mary just wanted a Bible.
Mary Jones lived in a small village in Wales at the end of the 18th century. From an early age, she loved to hear stories from the Bible; every Sunday she attended her local chapel and enjoyed listening to people reading from the Scriptures.
When she was only nine years old, Mary decided that the most important thing in her life was to read from her own Bible. Unfortunately, Bibles were hard to come by and expensive; her parents couldn’t afford to buy one. So, Mary decided to do odd jobs for people and earn enough money to buy a Bible.
Six years later, Mary had saved enough money for her special book. Although the nearest shop which sold Bibles was in Bala, twenty five miles away, she set out, undaunted, on her long journey. Sadly, once in Bala, she discovered that the book shop had sold out of all the Bibles! We can only imagine how upset and disappointed she was.
When the bookseller, Thomas Charles, heard about her long walk and realised that she would return home empty handed, he gave her his Bible. Later, Thomas Charles wondered if there were other children (and adults) around the country who wanted a Bible but had problems getting one.
Soon after Mary’s visit, Thomas Charles went to London where he met influential people, including William Wilberforce, and shared with them the story of Mary Jones. From this meeting came a response to Mary’s situation; on 7th March 1804 the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed. Its purpose was to provide Bibles throughout the world, in a language people could understand and at a price they could afford.
After this, other national societies were created and in 1946 the United Bible Societies was established to co-ordinate the work worldwide. Today, there are over one hundred Bible Societies, working in nearly two hundred countries. While they are busy with translation, production and distribution programmes, there are still countless numbers of people who do not have the Scriptures.
If we own a Bible, let’s give thanks we have God’s Word in our hands and, where possible, support a Bible Society with their valuable work.
For more information about The Bible Society, please follow this link.
Feature Image: Copyright Meres and meadows Messenger.