The enduring power of God’s Word from Christian Today
GNN Note – Reading the Bible everyday has change my life in more ways than I can describe. It provides a foundation upon which to build today and that, in turn, is building a future that I never imagined possible. / END
2022 marked the 140th anniversary of the International Bible Reading Association (IBRA). Its CEO, Zoe Keens, speaks to Christian Today about how people have been sustained by the Word of God through good times and bad.
CT: You’ve been going for 140 years. What was the founding vision and is it still the same today?
ZK: IBRA was started in 1882 by Charles Waters, a bank manager and a member of the National Sunday School Union, who was passionate about education through the Bible. He came up with the concept of charging members a small fee in return for receiving monthly pocket-sized hints and tips. They were only about A6 or A7 in size but they contained a portion of Scripture and a short explanation of what it meant and how to apply it to their lives.
They were sent all around the world and by the time the organisation was celebrating its 25th anniversary in 1907, it had around 950,000 members in 83 countries and was being translated into 40 languages.
The founding ethos was for UK readers to pay a little extra to support the international partners who were based all around the world, translating, printing and distributing the notes locally. Today, we have 15 partners in 13 countries following this very same model, locally translating, printing and distributing our annual daily Bible reading book, Fresh From the Word, funded by UK readers. So it was a major international work back then and it still is today.
CT: IBRA has survived two World Wars, a pandemic, numerous tough financial climates and various other challenges. What do you think has kept IBRA going all these years?