USA (MNN) — Five years ago, a company from Cupertino, California changed the way everyone thinks about their cell phone. Around the same time, a couple of pastors from Oklahoma decided to change the way people access the Bible. They developed one of the first apps for the iPhone: a digital Bible reader which they called (simply enough) the Bible App. Today, it's available on just about every mobile platform you can think of. And it's been downloaded more than 100 million times.
Biblica has been part of the Bible App from practically the beginning. The NIV translation is one of the more popular versions out of over 600 available on YouVersion's app.
Plus, the NIV is just one of around 30 translations Biblica offers. They also have the Bible in Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian, Korean, Thai, and so on.
But for the last few years, these Bible translations have been accessible only when you're connected to the Internet. If you're sitting on an airplane or any place without a mobile signal, you've been out of luck. That has now changed, as of September 1, 2013.
From now on, if you use the Bible App, you'll be able to download the full text of the NIV and other translations straight to your mobile device, free of charge. You'll be able to keep them and read them, whether or not you're online.
To be honest, offering this kind of access can feel a bit daunting when you're in publishing. Biblica is a ministry, but they still depend (partly) on income generated from selling ministry-priced Bibles. And their commercial partners like Zondervan in North America and Hodder & Stoughton in Europe have touched millions of lives through their sales of the NIV.
Biblica's friends at YouVersion haven't just changed the way people access the Bible; they've changed the way people think about publishing the Bible.
But the truth is, Biblica doesn't own the Bible. They're merely stewards entrusted with the responsibility of reaching people with God's Word.
Yes, they have a ministry to operate. Yes, they have projects to fund and bills to pay. But more than anything else, they have an obligation. A calling. An obsession, even: to get the Word of God into as many hands as possible and help people read the Bible well, so they can live it well.
That's why Biblica is turning on the switch, letting you and 100 million of your fellow Bible readers download the NIV and 30 other translations completely free.
Will it affect Biblica's bottom line? Maybe. Will the digital revolution change the way Bible publishers operate? Almost definitely. Is this the right thing to do? Absolutely.
If you agree, then you probably resonate with Biblica's larger vision. The ministry wants to reach as many as 5 billion people with God's Word. They have the Bible translations to do it. They're actively digitizing these translations and publishing them in print, audio, and digital formats. They're knocking down traditional barriers like the cost of print Bibles, illiteracy, etc. And with the help of amazing ministry partners like YouVersion, they're reaching more people than ever.
If you believe in this mission, if you think that everyone should have access to a world-class Bible translation in their heart language, if you believe that price should never, ever be a barrier to being able to engage God's Word, then there's something you can do to help.
Support Biblica's cause here. Make it possible for them to continue providing free access to the Bible through YouVersion and other ministry endeavors.