IN the Trinitarian Bible Societys 168th Annual Report, the General Secretary, Mr Paul Rowland, states, “Year by year, the necessity of the Societys work and witness becomes more evident. Spiritual darkness not only covers the nations that are openly hostile to the Gospel of the grace of God, but also many (if not most) of the churches in the nations that were once known as Christian!
“The majority of the professing Christian churches appear to have little concern for the glory of God, the true Gospel of His grace, the salvation of souls and the need that there is to promote the circulation of faithful translations of the Word of God. The glorious Gospel of the blessed God is preached to so comparatively few of the worlds population. . .
“Were it not for the exceedingly great and precious promises of the Holy Scriptures there would be nothing to encourage the Lords people to pray and labour for the extension of the Kingdom of Christ. What need we have to remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Zion, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28.18). Unto Him it was said, Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession (Psalm 2.8), and He has assured us, Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46.10).”
Mr Rowland also stated that He who has redeemed His Church, and who has graciously given, and jealously preserved, His Word, will oversee its translation and distribution so that it may redound to His own glory. “It is in the confidence,” he added, “that the Lord Jesus Christ shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied (Isaiah 53.11) that the Society continues to seek [as its constitution says] 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.”
Mr Rowland also reported that the total number of Scripture items bearing the Societys name supplied during the year was over 9.9 million. These were distributed in 115 countries in 37 languages. The number of complete Bibles totalled 558,308, which included 210,000 in English, 2,500 in Arabic, 900 in Hebrew, 14,300 in Hungarian, 34,000 in French, 125,500 in Portuguese, 37,700 in Russian, 120,000 in Spanish and 12,500 in Ukrainian. Additionally, 106,500 Russian New Testaments and 6,863,500 Portuguese New Testaments were distributed. Owing to the generosity of the Societys friends, the Society was able to increase appreciably the quantity of Bibles granted during the year. However, the great changes in the world economies resulted in a number of very large sales orders being cancelled. The Society has introduced several new publications, including the Hebrew Bible, the Ukrainian Bible and the Bible in the Original Languages.
“The budget for 1999,” said Mr Rowland, “anticipates a substantial deficit [well in excess of £100,000], but it was felt that rather than significantly reduce certain aspects of the Societys work, we should proceed in faith, looking to the Lord to supply all our needs. We would therefore value your prayers that the Lord may be pleased to supply all our needs during the year that, with His blessing, the work of the Society may continue to grow and be used of the Lord for the glory of His Name. We acknowledge our utter dependence upon the Lord. In every detail of the work of the Society we are wholly dependent upon the goodness and blessing of the Most High. Whatever we accomplish that has not His blessing is of no value. We therefore humbly give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, and pray that the Society may be kept in the path of His will that all that we undertake may be to His honour and His glory.”With regard to the future Mr Rowland said that during the next twelve months the Society hopes to publish their new edition of the French Bible, a new translation of the Romanian Bible, and an orthographically revised edition of the Spanish Bible. “Each of these projects has taken many years to prepare for publication,” he added, “and we ask for the prayers of our supporters that the Lords blessing may rest upon these copies of His Word, that when they are available they may be mightily used of God to the glory of His Name and the eternal profit of the souls of many. Many tens of thousands of pounds will be required to publish these copies of the Word of God, and as in all the affairs of the Society, we look to the One who has all resources at His command to supply our every need in financing their publication.”
He also said that work will continue on other translation projects in several languages, some of which may not be completed for a number of years. It is hoped that Gospels and other portions of the new Lhaovo, Lithuanian and Turkish translation projects will also be published shortly by the Society as prototypes of the complete Scriptures in these languages which it hopes to publish when the translations are completely finished.
“In view of the impending Millennium Celebrations,” said Mr Rowland, “a new and inexpensive edition of the Gospel of John in the Authorised Version is being prepared for widespread distribution. A specially blocked copy of the English Bible will also be made available, God willing. As the world celebrates the Millennium may the Lord be pleased to use His Word to cause many to pause and consider the brevity of their lives, the reality of eternity, and the need that they have, as sinners in the sight of a holy and just God, of seeking the Lord while He may be found!”