Over my sophomore spring break in college, I went on a mission trip to Mississippi. It was hot, there was drama, and I was averaging three hours of sleep. I wanted to return to my dorm room with a clean shower. Later that week, we entered a school to interact with the kids. Ugh! The last thing I wanted to do was share my allotment of RitzBitz with some random child. Reluctantly, I sat down with a girl on the playground who asked me about the book I was carrying: my Bible. I started vaguely explaining it to her; she wanted to read the book immediately. Humbled, I gave her that Bible a few days later – full of sticky notes explaining different aspects of the Bible, especially the story of Jesus. It was gut-wrenching giving up the Bible I had since childhood. But I pray that the Bible still impacts that girl’s life today.
That NIV Bible I gave to the girl on the playground was copyrighted by Biblica, one of the oldest Bible translation ministries in the world, with translations in over one hundred different languages—also, a GACX member. Biblica prioritizes translating the Bible into other languages and developing programs to accompany the Bible.
Biblica focuses on partnering with GACX ministries to support frontline work and to create resources based on current needs. Currently, Biblica is writing a study Bible for frontline church planters. This Bible is written at a third-grade reading level to support those with no formal Biblical education (almost 95% of pastors globally). The Bible contains narrative notes to explain every passage’s contribution to the greater Biblical narrative and explanatory notes which break down names, measurements, etc., in the Bible. It will be released under a Creative Commons license, free to be used by anyone, anywhere.
The idea of the study Bible was launched through a research project with GACX member, OneHope. Working with OneHope’s different church planting networks, the partnership tried to uncover the needs on the ground and narrow in on the largest gaps. One of the significant results was a desperate need for simple material that explains how to understand and read the Bible for church planters. Upon recognizing the need, Biblica communicated with Bethany International, Harvesters, and other GACX implementors to see if a study Bible would help fill this gap. The response was a resounding “yes.”
“We are releasing the study Bible for the global church. It is a game changer in Bible translation and distribution,” explains Marius Brand, team leader for the study Bible.
A group of GACX members recently completed field testing the study Bible’s simplified translation of the New Testament Gospels and a few modules of a program that Biblica is developing alongside the study Bible. The study Bible translation of the New Testament will be released digitally on an app in September 2023, and the entire Bible will be released in January 2024.
“We are also focused on Scripture and programs to reach children and young people who are the emerging church. That’s why we have so many incredible great partnerships through GACX,” says Brand.