NZ Bible Society 'bibles'
Bible Society New Zealand (BSNZ) is one of the biggest Christian charities in New Zealand. This year they celebrate their 171st year of operation, making them one of the oldest organisations in the country.
Based in Wellington at Bible House, with a smaller office in Auckland, their mission is to help make the Bible accessible to everyone and encourage interaction with it both in New Zealand and around the world.
BSNZ supports the work of 2926 churches around New Zealand including Māori and migrant churches, as well as many Christian organisations.
In addition, they are part of a worldwide network called United Bible Societies (UBS), operating in 200 countries and territories.
For BSNZ, their core programs include making the bible available, known and loved; bible translation; and Bible Month.
NZ Bible Society Stephen Patmore and Clare
Making the Bible available, known and loved
“We take the Bible and find ways to translate and distribute it, create digital formats for it, advocate for its place in society, and help people relate to and make sense of it in their everyday lives,” says Bible Society CEO Francis Burdett.
“All our efforts are driven by one conviction, we believe when people engage with the Bible, lives can change–for good,” he stated.
Increasingly, this is done in innovative ways to engage a digital generation with tools such as apps to help parents pass the Bible on to children.
Mr Burdett said they released the Bible Bedtime app for 5-7 year old children and more recently the Big Little Bible app for older children.
For youth, they provide free Easter camp literature as well as many other resources often linked to social media platforms such as YouTube.
NZ Bible Society 'youth program'
Bible Translation still key
Bible translation is a core activity for BSNZ. There are 497 million people still without any part of Scripture in their language. BSNZ raises funds for translation projects in New Zealand and overseas.
Their focus remains the South Pacific and Asia where they provide expertise in helping local communities bring the Bible into their language.
In New Zealand, the charity works with Māori Christian leaders to ensure the Bible continues to be available to a new generation of Māori speakers.
They recently published the first Māori children’s Bible, Taku Paipera. Work on the Tokelauan Bible in Porirua also continues.
As well as a team of committed BSNZ staff, the organisation has volunteers, partner organisations, and supporters throughout the country.
“They enable us to reach across the breadth of the church in New Zealand with the message that the Bible needs to play an important role in the Christian faith journey,” said Mr Burdett.
Bible Month July 2017
Bible Month is a key annual event which runs in July and is an ongoing Bible engagement campaign. This year BSNZ will be encouraging Christian adults in New Zealand to read the Bible and pass it onto the next generation of children and youth.
BSNZ produce a range of free resources, including Bible reading plans, a short film, and research to enable this to happen.
BSNZ mission hightlights in the 12 months up till 31 March 2016:
5,980 Bibles given away in New Zealand
32,989 Scripture portions given away in New Zealand
1,577 New testaments given away in New Zealand
370 special WW1 anniversary waterproof New Testaments gifted to New Zealand Navy
$1.21 million contributed to Bible Society projects around the world
2 new Bible apps developed for Kiwi kids aged 5-7
1,900 Adventure Bible storybooks gifted to Kiwi kids
25,623 specially designed youth engagement resources distributed at Easter camps and other youth events in New Zealand
6,521 Scripture leaflets distributed free to hospitals in New Zealand
For more information on BSNZ go to www.biblesociety.org.nz
NZ Bible Society John Watson at work
Emma Seabrook is a columnist with Christian Today and an administrator with a Business Degree. Emma is now studying a degree in nursing. Emma has a passion for Christ and an interest in reading, writing and music and assisting with the Christian Today New Zealand Christian news project.