Some of These Bibles Will Never Leave Prison. And That’s Amazing

In Ministry by Biblica Staff

“Two are better than one,” the author of Ecclesiastes writes, “because they have a good return for their labor…”

Nowhere is that truer than in ministry. At Biblica, we partner with local churches and like-minded ministries all around the world to extend our reach and share God’s Word with more people.

Prison ministry is a great example. We began partnering with prison chaplains and ministries in 1815 to get Bibles to those who are incarcerated, and we continue that work today.

Take Into the Neighborhood, for instance. Located in Richmond, Virginia, Into the Neighborhood addresses a number of issues facing the community, including ministry to prisoners. The Bible is central to their efforts.

“We study God’s Word in Jobs For Life, and in discipleship. Easy-to-read translations are a must. [They] had plenty of KJV, but residents (whose average reading level is the 4th grade) would ask for something they could understand. [We] didn’t have a source for modern translations. That’s when we Googled and found Biblica. And it’s been a godsend.”

They note that Bibles are hard to come by in local jails and prisons.

“People are bored. It’s a great time for them to learn and read about Jesus. It’s also important for us – as the Body of Christ – to visit and develop relationships and encourage those who are in jails and prisons. As we join them in discovering God’s Word and teaching how to hear from God and respond to Him, relationships are developed…that’s when real transformation takes place.”

John Rusnak, the Executive Director for unCUFFED Ministries, knows the value of the Bible to those behind bars – because he was once in prison himself.

“I ended up humiliated, indicted, convicted, and incarcerated where I had nowhere else to look but up,” he says. “The Bible was a refuge for me while incarcerated, so I daily commend this book to our boys.”

In unCUFFED’s ministry to prisoners, Rusnak finds God’s Word invaluable.

“Without the Bible, I would only be sharing the wisdom of the world…I am assured that God can use me to speak truth to the boys if I rely on the Bible and point the boys back to the Book as the source of the wisdom I share with them.”

He tells of a 17-year-old who was recently sentenced to five years in the Department of Corrections. “After a study on forgiveness, he gave his life to Christ and started down a path of study and prayer. He has been faithful in attending Bible Study and professes a reliance on God to carry him through.”

Rik Ihssen of the Jail Ministry for Grace Chapel in Valparaiso, ID, got into prison ministry through his church.

“Someone approached our church about doing services on Sunday nights for inmates. But doing the services only left me with more of a desire to disciple the inmates where I felt more lasting change could occur. An opportunity arose to go into the cells directly every Thursday and conduct Bible studies. So for the past several years, I’ve been going into the cells ‘planting seeds’ and bringing ‘cups of cold water.’

“God’s Word is central to our ministry,” Ihssen explains. “When I first went into the cells, I would use devotions based on God’s Word. But then I realized it was much better to study the Bible itself and let its power touch the lives of inmates.”

One of those inmates was Matt. “I walked into his cell,” Ihssen says, “which was Maximum, for violent offenders, and introduced myself. I asked if he’d like me to do a Bible study. His eyes got wide and he readily agreed. When we were halfway through the study, I saw there were tears in his eyes. When I asked if he was okay, he explained that he realized he had made a mess of his life and had cried out to God to send someone to minister to him, knowing it would be next to impossible because he was in Max. An hour later, I walked through the door.”

“Matt eagerly received the gift of a Bible and promised he would read it. I only saw him two more times before he was transferred, but each time his face was aglow from what he had read in the Word that week. He had a peace and a joy that only the Spirit can give through God’s Word.”

The writer of Hebrews describes the Word of God as “alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

No matter where the Bible goes, it is “alive and active” – in church, at home, in prison.

Join us in sharing Scriptures with those who so desperately need the hope that only God provides. Your gift of $20 will provide Bibles for 5 inmates, allowing them to hear and respond to God’s invitation to spiritual freedom.

Biblica Staff

Biblica, the International Bible Society, is a worldwide ministry that has been helping people read and understand God’s Word for over 200 years. We are committed to providing 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. We do this through translation and publishing, by making the Bible accessible, and with innovative Bible engagement programs like Community Bible Experience. To learn more about our ministry and how you can partner with us to share God’s Word with people around the world, go to our ministry page.

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