Fact Sheet: American Bible Society

Since 1816, American Bible Society has made the Bible available in a language and format people can understand and afford, so that everyone may have access to its life-changing message. American Bible Society also equips churches and mission organizations with Bibles, Bible study resources and educational materials to teach others about the Bible's life-changing message.

American Bible Society Quick Facts

  • American.Bible

  • Founded in 1816

  • Nonprofit focused on helping people engage with the Bible

  • Provides Bibles and Bible resources in the U.S. and around the world through ministry partners

  • Published the Good News Translation of the Bible

  • Published the Contemporary English Version 

  • Has distributed more than six billion Bibles

American Bible Society works closely with other organizations to reach people in the United States and around the world who might otherwise not have access to Bibles. Through these partnerships, Bibles are distributed to:

  • The U.S. military (domestically and abroad)

  • U.S. veterans

  • Students struggling with literacy

  • Victims of natural disasters

  • Inmates

  • At-risk youth

To increase daily Bible reading, American Bible Society expanded its distribution channels via the internet. Following its original mission, to make the Bible available in a variety of formats, today’s American Bible Society provides interactive, high- and low-tech resources, enabling first-time readers and seasoned theologians alike to engage with the best-selling book of all time.

A charter member of the United Bible Societies—an organization composed of approximately 147 Bible societies on six continents—American Bible Society's influence extends beyond U.S. borders. Through its grant-making efforts, American Bible Society demonstrates the practical love of the Bible by partnering with organizations and ministries such as Samaritan's Purse, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and Feed the Children to meet the needs of suffering people worldwide.

"Always on the cutting edge of spiritual need (VirtueOnline, 2008)," American Bible Society has been a pioneer in making the Bible accessible to all Americans—when, where and how it serves them best.

A History of Firsts

American Bible Society was the first to:

  • Distribute Bibles by placing them in hotels, serving the needs of weary travelers

  • Provide pocket Bibles to combat soldiers (Civil War)

  • Present a Bible for the blind (1835)

  • Offer a Gift Annuities program (1843)

  • Produce audio recordings of the Bible—by vinyl record (1957)—in 44 languages

  • Translate the Bible into "today's English"—producing the Good News Translation (1966), which sold more than 7.7 million copies in its first year of release

A History of Notable Leadership

American Bible Society has been influenced by esteemed American presidents, politicians and lawmakers, including:

  • John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States

  • Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president of the United States  

  • Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States

  • Elias Boudinot, 10th president of the Continental Congress

  • John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court