Our History

Biblica has a rich and amazing history that stretches across more than 200 years!

It was way back in 1809 that a group of Christians gathered in lower Manhattan, New York, to discuss the city’s spiritual needs. Among them was Henry Rutgers (Rutgers University). Together, they formed the New York Bible Society (NYBS).

NYBS members distributing Bibles to immigrants at Ellis Island (also portrayed in the painting at the top of this page).

The NYBS began sharing God’s Word with the flood of immigrants entering the country through Ellis Island, as well as providing Bibles for the many sailors, soldiers, and other residents in the city.

In 1810, the Society funded its first translation: William Carey’s Bengali Bible translation in India.

Two years later, in 1812, the NYBS began its ministry to the military, and in 1815 they began ministry to prison inmates. Both of these ministries have continued to the present day.

Soon, members of The Society were going door to door throughout New York City to make sure everyone had the opportunity to hear about Christ and have a copy of the Bible in their language.

Over the course of the next two centuries, the New York Bible Society began placing Bibles in hotel rooms (1836), providing Bibles for hospital patients, and providing braille Bibles for the blind.

Billy Graham finds both a text and congregation underground. Location: Uptown Lexington Avenue Subway at 51st Street.
Billy Graham finds both a text and a congregation underground. Location: Uptown Lexington Avenue Subway at 51st Street.

During the 1950s, the Society became the publishing sponsor of the New International Version of the Bible. When it was completed in 1978, the NIV quickly became the best-selling contemporary English translation of all time.

In 1988, the NYBS changed its name to the International Bible Society to better reflect its new and widening scope of ministry.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the International Bible Society translated God’s Word into dozens of the world’s most spoken languages.

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Bible distribution to Philippines prison inmates.

In 2009, the International Bible Society changed its name to Biblica.

Today, Biblica, the International Bible Society, partners with like-minded organizations to minister God’s Word in 55 countries. Our global ministry continues to include Bible translation, Bible access, and Bible engagement programs.

Our mission is to provide the Bible in accurate, contemporary translations and formats so that more people around the world will have the opportunity to be transformed by Jesus Christ.

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