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Lord, we know we shouldn’t take access to Your Holy Word for granted. Please overcome the efforts of those who would block or distort it. And please bless our brothers and sisters in China.

It’s hard to imagine not having a Bible — a physical copy of the Word that I can hold, read, and spiritually digest. But what if I couldn’t find one? What if retail giants like Amazon no longer carried them?

Thankfully, that prospect seems almost unthinkable here in the United States — almost. More on that in a moment. But as we pray, we definitely should count this among our blessings. We should remember that not everyone can say the same, particularly in a place like China.

An article from the Barnabas Fund recently caught my attention. Contacts of that ministry, which aids persecuted Christians, reported that China is escalating its crackdown on the Holy Scriptures. Already those seeking a copy of the Word are viewed with suspicion, and several years ago major online retailers like Amazon were required to drop Bible listings in the communist state. Now, according to Barnabas sources, the restrictions are also being more rigorously enforced on Taobao.com, a massive e-commerce site where vendors and consumers interact directly — essentially China’s e-Bay.

For context, it’s important to remember that China has about 1.4 billion people — the world’s largest population. The U.S., while the third most populous nation, has only a fraction of that number (around 330 million). With that in mind, it should perhaps not surprise us that China has more than 50 percent of the entire world’s e-commerce transactions. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports, “Moving into 2021, China’s eCommerce market is predicted to be larger than those of the U.S., UK, Japan, Germany, and France combined.”

Taobao and its sister Tmall have the corner on over half of that gigantic market, and in today’s environment merchants would be very hard pressed to have any success moving Bibles there. The Barnabas source stated, “Now it is extremely dangerous for both buyers and sellers to get involved in this business, so you barely find these [Christian] books on Taobao.”

Worse, the Chinese Communist Party is not only attempting to shut down the flow of Bibles to its people, it is also intent on creating its own state-serving version. Yes, it wants to re-write the Bible.

According to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last year, state-run media in China reported a gathering of supposed scholars with a Politburo member interested in “making accurate and authoritative interpretations of classical doctrines to keep pace with the times.” One reported change allegedly distorts the powerful “Go, and sin no more” passage of John 8 in a radical and disturbing fashion — it would attempt to denigrate Christ and of course elevate the role of state authority.

So we need to be praying for our brothers and sisters in China. But why did I mention our own house earlier?

Well, as surprising as it may sound, China is also the foremost exporter of Bibles in the world. In fact, many of the 20 million Bibles sold in the U.S. every year are printed by Amity Printing Company in Nanjing. Among major customers are HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP), which produces the New International Version (NIV) and the King James Version (KJV), and Tyndale House, which has rights to the New Living Translation (NLT).

In a fascinating (and alarming) article, Nina Shea, Director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, unpacks the American Bible market’s vulnerability to U.S.-China relations. In fact, she recounts how the rise of the recent trade war between the two giants led Bible publishers to seek federal relief from tariffs in 2019.

Shea concludes her piece by stating, “Though they started with good intentions, the publishers are now in a bind. Protecting this supply chain will become untenable as the CCP continues to tighten its control.”

She goes on to suggest, “American Bible publishers can best preserve Americans’ First Amendment rights—and their own reputations—by immediately shifting their printing out of China.”

I take my Bible for granted. I shouldn’t. We shouldn’t.

Let’s pray for our fellow Christians in China and all those who desire a chance to understand the Gospel. Let’s pray for continued unencumbered access to the Holy Scriptures in our own nation, too.

“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ” (Matthew 5:17)

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena. He reflects on faith, technology, and the public square at FTPolicy.com. (Photo Credit: Unsplash.)

How will you pray for the spread of the Holy Scriptures today?

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Shirley Gue
February 17, 2021

Father God, You saíd we may be the only Bible and epistles men may read because there will be a famine of The word of God. It will happen in Your perfect timing. Therefore , my prayer for everyone of us Your children is that we will read, eat, meditate, and hide Your word sooo much and sooo deeply in our hearts that all that will come out of the abundance of our hearts and mouths will be Your words that are living, active, powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, that penetrate so deeply that they divide our spirit from our soul,and our joints from our marrow, they judge the thoughts and intents of our hearts, and they uncover everything we have hidden and lay before the eyes of God to whom we must and will give account, they are life, health and healing to all of our flesh, they will acquit or judge us later when we stand before God , face to face.at the Judgment Seat, after we die and meet the Lord and Judge of us all. Once His words flow out of our bellies like rivers of water, God will use us mightily to advance and usher in the greatest revival ever known to man, and help us to win, gather in, and disciple the end time harvest of souls before the glorious ingathering and Rapture of The Church and Marriage of The Bride without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. May He be glorified as we live and walk out His word we have faithfully hidden in our hearts. I pray these things in Jesus’name and for His glory and honor. Amen.

Chuck
February 16, 2021

We each should commit to daily praying for our fellow warriors and believers. We should remain and grow as strong influencers in our world of daily living. We should not ever by stopped in supplying Bibles in our own country and others. They should be printed in the USA. There is no room in our world today to tolerate any compromise of sharing the Gospel.

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Cynthia
February 16, 2021

Thank God we can TRUST Jesus’ word in Mt 24:35
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

Hallelujah!

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Leslie Moon
February 16, 2021

Please also pray for missionaries trying to get the Word to remote places. There is also another barrier – illiteracy.
“Lord help our missionaries in hard to reach places know your Word and lovingly convey it to the lost. Help us put the treasure of your Word in our hearts each day.”

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    Cynthia
    February 16, 2021

    Leslie, our God has told us that faith comes by hearing His Word. So, one ministry, Faith Comes By Hearing, has taken this literally and is providing solar powered Proclaimers (they look to be about 8″x15″x4″) which read aloud the word of God in the hearing of illiterate groups, proclaimed in their own heart language!

    In addition, there may be others, but I understand Wycliffe Bible Translators have developed software which, coupled with indigenous/native/believers/translators (I may not have the right terms, here) have been able to exponentially accelerate Bible translation into more and more heart languages, so that MANY might both read and hear and understand.

    God’s Word is Truth and Light and everlasting, faithful. No weapon formed against Him will prosper!

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Jim
February 16, 2021

Jim

Vickie
February 16, 2021

Lord please bless our brothers and sisters in China. I pray that You will thwart and destroy plans that may prohibit Bible reading in China and help us to Not take Your Word for granted in America or anywhere else in the world. In Jesus holy and precious name, Amen.

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Anne Faucett
February 16, 2021

Father we ask You to protect Your word in China. Let all weapons used to stop the word fail. Faith comes by hearing and hearing word of God. Let those who plan to change the Bible be changed themselves by Your spirit. Amen

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Susan CC
February 16, 2021

I just had a FaceTime visit with a son who is in -22 weather. He was in the garage boiling water to make coffee. Anyway, I just told him how Jesus’ words in Matthew 11 penetrated my heart a few months back. I have been a Bible reading Christian for decades but these words reinvigorated me in a beautiful way. I told Jesus I wanted to learn from Him and throughout this time forward I have felt His, “yes and amen” as I read the Bible. If I had no other book, ever in my life, I would be satisfied. Father, I pray you would put this desire on everyones, hearts and in everyone’s minds….the need of a Bible. Begin distributing Your Word like never before…in print, online, new, used, shared…now. I ask this in the Precious Name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Savior. Amen

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. 27 All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires[m] to reveal Him.

28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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Ruth H. Leech
February 16, 2021

Go to the American Bible Society and give. It is amazing that with $5.00 one can buy a treasure! Often I think of how many Bibles have been sent into China and how the Church in China thrives because they have God’s Word. How often I have thought to myself and exhorted others to soak up the Word of God because when the lights go out we will have full batteries to keep out little lights shining.

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    Susan CC
    February 16, 2021

    I love your comment Ruth…. “keep your little lights shining!” You brought a smile to my heart, Amen!

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    Gail Segars Rainey
    February 16, 2021

    Miss Ruth, just this week I got solicitation from American Bible Society and they are sending Bibles to remote parts of China now for only $1.50 each. For those who give online rather than snail mail like me, go to SupportChina.AmericanBible.org.

    1
      Ruth H. Leech
      February 16, 2021

      Thank you for telling and there is no time like the present as things tighten up in the world. Yes, I give by ‘snail mail’ too rather than on line as I have had some difficulty with on line giving.

Alberta Snyder
February 16, 2021

Father I pray for those persecuted Christians in China. Father I ask Lord you would free them from bondage. I ask Lord you would preserve our freedom here in America and move all Christian book printing here to America ” who the son sets free is free indeed ” where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom “

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