Accessible Bible brings God’s Word to those with learning disabilities

By July 8, 2016

United Kingdom (MNN) – What do you think of when you hear the term “unreached people?” For many, poverty-stricken, rural villages in third-world countries are what come to mind.

The reality is, we encounter unreached people in the places where we least expect it. In the UK, there are almost two million adults living with a learning disability and 1.2 million more who have a severe visual or hearing impairment, making it difficult for them to read and understand God’s Word.

(Photo courtesy of Biblica)

(Photo courtesy of Biblica)

“Many people with learning disabilities in the church feel excluded with regards to the Bible because perhaps they have an easy-to-read language format, but the format is too distracting,” Becky Miles with Biblica, an organization dedicated to translating God’s Word and helping people experience it, says. “So for example, the font may have very ambiguous letters, or the columns make it very difficult to read and follow, or perhaps they can read the Bible but they can’t understand it and need help with comprehension.

“One thing that’s quite common with people with learning disabilities is they’re given a children’s Bible by the church, because they feel that’s the level that they’re at. While that might be easier to read and give some comprehension, it leaves people feeling excluded and embarrassed.”

That’s why Biblica started the Accessible Bible—a Bible that utilizes special fonts, illustrations and layouts that make for easier reading and comprehension.

“We know when people read the Bible, they’re transformed, and we want to see people in those groups transformed,” Miles says. “We want to see them engaged in the Bible…Those with disabilities are often viewed as the least evangelized group in the world, and we want to see people reached in this group with the Bible.”

Specifically, the Accessible Bible will use the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) translation. It will feature no justification of text and clear, unambiguous, large font. Each chapter will begin on a new page, verse numbers will be placed on the side of the text and illustrations will be added for extra comprehension. Audio and e-book versions will also be available.

“The key is the packaging,” Miles says. “It has to be something that the people who are using it are proud to own. It’s not going to some embarrassing children’s Bible or some nutty or geeky-looking Bible, but a Bible that recognizes they are a child of God, valued, part of the body of Christ.”

(Photo courtesy of Biblica)

(Photo courtesy of Biblica)

Biblica is currently in the process of raising funds for the project, which is starting off as only a New Testament and is set to be printed in spring 2017. The goal is to help those with learning disabilities engage with God’s Word, but Miles says she hopes the impact is much broader.

“I also hope that this Bible project is part of a wider recognition of the church, and indeed society in general, of the need to be genuinely inclusive within our churches and changing our view of what faith and what church should look like,” Miles says.

Can you come alongside Biblica as it works to make this project a reality? Miles asks that you spread the word about the Accessible Bible and the need for this type of resource, as well as keep the project in your prayers. You can donate to this project by clicking here.


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