2022: 35.5 Million Bibles Distributed Worldwide 

Worldwide Bible distribution is gradually returning to pre-coronavirus levels. In 2022, 35.5 million people worldwide received a complete Bible, compared to 30 million in 2021. This is reported by United Bible Societies (UBS), the umbrella organization of the more than 150 Bible societies, in its 2022 annual report.

‘This is for the reason we exist,’ says director Rieuwerd Buitenwerf of the Bible Society for the Netherlands and Flanders (BSNF). ‘There are still many situations in which people would like to have their own Bible, but cannot get a copy without help. The Bible gives strength and inspiration, especially in times like these. That is why the Bible societies around the world are doing everything they can to give as many people as possible access to the Bible, as a book, digitally or as an audiobook.’

The UBS reports disrupted production and distribution chains and rising prices as a result of, among other things, the war in Ukraine. Despite this, a total of 166.4 million Bibles and partial editions were distributed in 2022; almost the same as the 169 million in 2021. 

Digital Growth Worldwide and in the Netherlands and Flanders 

Digital Bible distribution has been growing steadily for years and the decline in 2021 was temporary, the UBS report shows. In 2021, the percentage of downloaded Bibles was 20% of the total number of Bibles distributed, in 2022 it was 28%. And, in absolute numbers: in 2010 approximately 200,000 Bibles were downloaded worldwide, last year that had risen to 10 million. 

The BSNF also sees digital growth in the Netherlands and Flanders. The number of users of the ‘Mijn Bijbel’ app increased by 8% to 176,000. In Flanders, especially, there was significant growth: 42%. Online Bible reading is also on the rise: in 2022, almost 1.4 million people read the Bible via the Bible website. 

Bibles for Ukrainian Refugees 

What is also striking in the UBS report is the commitment to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Bible Society distributed half a million Bibles and children’s Bibles, and a number of Bible societies—including the BSNF—distributed a quarter of a million copies to Ukrainian refugees in countries surrounding Ukraine. Refugees in the Netherlands and Flanders were given 8,500 Ukrainian Bibles and Bible passages through the BSNF. 

International NBG support 

In 2022, the BSNF supported 27 international Bible distribution projects, including in Brazil and the Gulf States, and projects for children in 28 countries. In Brazil, the project concerned was the ‘Light for the Amazon’ project, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. In 2022, more than 45,000 Bibles and Bible passages were given to residents of the vast Amazon region. They are also offered medical and other essential practical assistance. 

Photo Caption: This refugee boy was given a children’s Bible in Lviv. Photo Ukrainian Bible Society. 

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