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The object of this Society was
‘to promote the Glory of God and the salvation of men, by circulating, both at home and abroad, in dependence on the Divine blessing, the HOLY SCRIPTURES, which are given by inspiration of God, and are able to make men wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus’.
As the guiding principle of its work and witness, the Society acknowledged the whole Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the sole, supreme, and infallible rule of faith and practice, providentially preserved by God. In contrast to the growing liberalism and Unitarianism in Christian thought, it was decided that this Society would work for the publication of faithful and reliable copies of the Holy Scriptures (without the Apocrypha). Thus was born the Trinitarian Bible Society.
In the beginning, the work of the Society mainly involved Bible distribution. By the end of 1832 the Society had distributed a total of 4,283 Bibles and New Testaments, including a consignment of one hundred Bibles to be used in Canada. In November 1835, a gift of 50 pounds sterling was received to aid in the production of a new translation in a foreign language. Because little work had been done by other Bible societies in producing a translation in Portuguese, this was selected by the Trinitarian Bible Society as the language of their first translation project. The New Testament was completed in 1839, and by the grace of God the entire Portuguese Bible was ready for distribution in 1847. Currently the Society publishes Bibles and New Testaments in nineteen languages and individual Gospels in several other languages, as well as the Scriptures in the Biblical languages. One of the best received of our published Bibles has been a revision of our Portuguese Bible which was voted book of the year in 1995 by the Brazilian Christian Booksellers Association.
As the years have progressed, the Society’s work has grown. Projects have been undertaken to provide faithful versions of the Scriptures for people in many African and Indian countries, as well as many Western and Eastern European countries. In time, the Society undertook to meet the need not only for New Testaments and Bibles but for shorter portions of Scriptures as well. Thus the Society began publishing Scripture leaflets, tracts and booklets on various subjects such as ‘The Love of God’, ‘The Mercy of God’, ‘Redemption’ and ‘Peace with God’. In keeping with the Society’s belief that it is the Word of God which brings light to darkened minds, the heart of these publications was always to be the Scriptures. The Society now publishes a variety of Scripture portions in a number of languages. Christians throughout the world use these Scripture portions as witnessing aids and in counselling situations.
In 1969 the Society took over the publication of the Golden Thoughts Calendars, which contain a Scripture text for every day of the year. Over one-half million Golden Thoughts Calendars are distributed annually in eleven languages. In addition, our pictorial Words of Life Calendars are distributed in twenty-two languages, reaching many hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The calendars are a means of entry for the Word of God into many places which it would not otherwise reach.
The same can be said of another project. In 1975, the Trinitarian Bible Society, in cooperation with other Christian organizations, arranged to exhibit posters of the Ten Commandments in five hundred London Underground trains for a period of one year. This was followed in 1977 by the exhibiting of larger posters in Underground stations and at British Rail stations in Glasgow, Liverpool and London. Large posters with various Scripture texts are now displayed on 150 sites in British Rail stations throughout Great Britain, a work which has spread to the exhibiting of posters in prominent places in the Republic of Ireland and Canada. By these means, many thousands of people who would not normally read a Bible are daily confronted with the Word of God.
Another way in which the work of the Society has expanded is through the Internet. The Society’s website went online in the mid-1990s, providing not only information about the Society but also various articles and information regarding the need for faithful and accurate translations of the Holy Scriptures. It also enables people to order online. It is our prayer that the Lord will use this to continue spreading the Society’s work around the world.
The Trinitarian Bible Society continues to witness the faithfulness of our God. By His grace, we are well-placed to expand both the volume and the range of Scriptures circulated. Thus He has given us a part in the fulfilment of His promise, ‘my word…shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please’ (Isaiah 55.11).
Read more of our history in the articles listed below: