In 1804, the world’s first Bible Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, was formed. It is Mary Jones’ story of perseverance that sparks the global development of Bible Societies.
Mary Jones was born in Wales, UK, in 1784. A girl diligent at learning God’s Word strived to own a Bible. However, printed Bibles were generally unaffordable in those days, so owning one was uncommon. For little Mary, the cost of one Bible was overbearing. She treasured every opportunity to work and save hard on meager earnings from performing household chores for neighbors. Six years had gone by, and she now had enough money to buy a Bible in Wales language.
It was the summer of 1800, and Mary set off for a lone journey around mountains and across streams for a whole day to arrive at the town of Bala. When Mary learned that the last copy of the Bible was being reserved by another customer, she cried out of desperation. Her deep yearning for God’s Word moved Rev. Charles, the seller of Bibles. He decided to sell this Bible to Mary instead of keeping it on reserve.
Mary Jones’ yearning for the Bible out of pure faith and determination to overcome challenges stands as an encouraging example for many people. It inspired the stronger commitment of Rev. Charles to Bible printing. Four years later, the British and Foreign Bible Society was established, setting out movements of Bible Societies. There are now 146 Bible Societies across the globe.
In 1946, the United Bible Societies (UBS) was established by 13 Member Societies. It engages in Bible ministry, including Bible translation, publication, distribution, and promotion in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
Its Member Societies assume 80% of the difficult task of distributing Bibles around the world, in turn facilitating the planting and growth of churches. Furthermore, member societies from different parts of the world offer support to one another in terms of prayers, translation work, research, and resources.
As a Member Society of UBS, the Hong Kong Bible Society is mainly responsible for the Bible Ministry in Hong Kong and Macau.