The Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages across the globe, but obstacles hinder accessibility. Can people afford the Scriptures? Is the Word allowed in every nation? Can people there even read it?
Faith Comes By Hearing is obliterating these obstacles, and all with one quick click.
"Now, for the first time in history, you have one application that can singly distribute the Scriptures in all the languages of the world—spoken by at least five billion people," says Troy Carl, Faith Comes By Hearing's national director. "We're very, very excited about the accessibility of the Word of God to anybody, anywhere, at any time."
In less than a year, Faith Comes By Hearing has introduced the Scriptures in 542 languages onto an application compatible with smart phones, androids, iPads and more. This single app, Bible.is—which is moving so fast that it has more than doubled the languages offered on it in the last month—is hurdling every obstacle and opening the world to the Bible.
The price of the Scriptures is no longer an issue. The app is free. As long as a person owns a compatible device—or they can even use the app on a computer—they can access the Scriptures. There are five billion cell phone subscribers worldwide, making the likelihood that a person owns such a device quite high. The number of smartphones is going up, too.
Carl says another thing they've watched the app do over the past several months is transcend even the strictest of government boundaries. While some countries might reject missionary presence, aid or Scripture distribution, "One of the things we've found is that there's no resistance to distribution as long as it's coming in through technology," says Carl.
If people can get it for free, unafraid of consequences, a problem still remains if they are unable to read the Word. But the very nature of Faith Comes By Hearing's decades-old ministry is to provide Scriptures for those who cannot read them. All 542 languages are in audio format, so anyone can hear the Word of God.
The accessibility of the app is opening hearts to the gospel as people are able to hear the words of God's Truth spoken to them.
"We do get people commenting on the fact that this application—by hearing the Bible in an audio form, not just reading it—has actually restored them, brought revival to their soul and even some have come to Christ as a result," explains Carl. The ministry gets thousands of testimonies a week, many from un-churched listeners who are understanding the Bible for the first time.
The Bible.is app is expanding as quickly as it can, as well as adapting to its subscribers. Right now, the app can be downloaded for navigation in seven languages—including Arabic, which has become the second most-listened-to language on the app. But as the app catches on to more and more users, the navigation languages will increase in number. Faith Comes By Hearing wants to ensure that everyone who wants to access Scripture can do so.
"There will be 5 billion smart phones by 2016 around the world," notes Carl. "Our goal is to make sure the Bible is on every one of them."
Carl calls this app the "amazon" (as in amazon.com) of the Bible: no one has ever put all Scriptures in all languages in one place available for free and for listening. As the Scriptures are accessed by more and more people, the Word of God will take root in places it has never been before. Pray that the Lord would have His hands in this ministry and the spread of His Word.