The heart of Bible League International’s global strategy is Project Philip, a Bible study program that trains local church members in evangelism and discipleship. Project Philip is inspired by the story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian responded: “How can I understand? I need someone to explain it to me.”
Project Philip trains leaders (we call Philips) who invite others to study the Gospel of John. As part of Project Philip, each participant receives a Bible for personal use, and is encouraged to become part of a local church.
Evangelism and Discipleship
Project Philip uses two kinds of Bible study: evangelistic and discipleship. All studies are available for the languages and cultures of the regions of Bible League International partnerships.
- The Gospel of John – evangelistic study that introduces the one, true God, and clearly shows our need for salvation through Jesus Christ.
- Reaching Toward the Goal – follow-up discipleship study teaching the importance of Bible reading, prayer, a life of holiness, sharing new faith, and becoming part of a local church.
The more advanced level of Project Philip uses a Student Guide and a Teacher Guide to prepare believers to become Philips as Project Philip Bible study leaders to help others understand and enjoy God’s Word. Project Philip Bible studies encourage new life and spiritual growth in Jesus Christ, and the guidance of trained Philips is vital.
Project Philip in action
As a child, Ida struggled with hardship and loss, and she didn’t understand why her life was so difficult. “I didn’t know God. I felt abandoned and discarded,” she says.
When a neighbor invited her to a Project Philip Bible study, she began to read the Bible provided by Bible League International and she was transformed. “I learned how God is my Father … that He knows and loves me. I started to talk to my friends about Christ. I found the joy and peace I was missing.” Ida’s neighbor who invited her to the Bible study is part of an evangelistic effort among churches in Albania to bring the Word of God to every city, town, and village in their country using Project Philip.
Bible League International’s Easy-To-Read Version (ERV) Bible translations are written in everyday language, making God’s Word accessible at a basic reading level. This is important for new readers and those unfamiliar with the Bible. The most common responses are: “I can understand the Word of God!” and “It’s as if the words are alive.”
Without clarity and understanding the Bible remains a closed book. And there are too many who can’t find a readable Bible and learn the Gospel of salvation. Today about 200 million, in almost 1,800 languages, still don’t have a Bible in their native language. And many more have limited access to translations of the Bible that are too difficult to understand.
Easy-to-Read™ (ERV) Bible Translations
Today we have complete Easy-to-Read (ERV) Bible translations in 20 languages and another 14 translations are in progress. Demand for translations is growing, and we are eager to continue making God’s Word available worldwide.
Our staff of biblical scholars and translators use a rigorous process to carefully and faithfully translate God’s Word in the unique language and culture of the readers. For each translation, translators team up with local native-speakers and church leaders. Translators learn, hear and see the unique ways of speaking and understanding. After beginning the translation books of the Bible, such as the Gospel of John, are field tested and the translation is revised with the feedback received. Through this process the Bible is translated in a way that is faithful to God’s Word and understandable.
Easy-to-Read Translations at work
Imagine the joy of hearing and understanding God’s Word for the first time. When translators and church leaders field tested the Gospel of John from the Easy-to-Read Swahili Bible in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, they saw faces turn from concerned to smiling. One reader smiled and joyfully exclaimed, “I can understand the Word of God!” This translation continues today, and it is obviously worth the effort.
And in Japan, where most do not have a readable Bible, the Easy-to-Read translation work is making a significant impression. Reading samples of the new translation leads to responses like, “It’s as if the words are alive!” and “It’s like I am present in the story. It’s actually fun to read.”
- Chinese, Madarin
- Haitian Creole
- Myanmar (Burmese)
- Portugese (Brazil & Africa)
Church Planter Training
In places where there are no local churches, and for growing churches eager to share the Gospel with those who have never heard of the gift of salvation, Bible League International provides resources and training for church planters. We help train and encourage students who are eager to show God’s love, in remote areas and the world’s busiest cities, so they can teach others and care for the spiritual needs of their communities.
Ordinary people plant extraordinary churches
We help local believers become church planters by providing Project Philip training as they spread the Gospel in their own country. They are motivated, mobile, and equipped to share the Gospel, grow the church, and disciple new believers.
It is vital that church planters be part of their own culture – to understand the people, languages, and culture. With passion for those who need to hear the Gospel, they share the Word of God, teaching about faith in Jesus Christ, answering difficult and important questions, and showing others the love of God.
Over the course of one year, Bible League International’s training takes church planters through five steps to begin a new church.
Church planters learn how to communicate the Gospel in a way that is understandable and relevant to their culture. For example, church planters in the Philippines go door-to-door making personal contacts, learn about their neighbors, and invite them to a small group Bible study using Project Philip. In areas where other religions are strong, they build on friendships and relationships to share the Gospel. And in all places, church planters strive to show the love of Jesus Christ, especially in the midst of suffering or turmoil.
As church planters develop friendships through opening their homes and studying the Bible together, relationships develop. The church planter invites interested people to a home where they study the Scriptures. Relationships develop, and when new faith in Jesus Christ begins, church planters provide nurture and encouragement – lives are transformed and disciples are made.
Those with new faith in Jesus Christ begin to meet with other believers, learn the joy of caring for others, praying together, and worship in the body of Christ. They also experience the important changes God makes in lives when part of a local church, including humble service and sharing the Gospel with others. In turn, new believers invite their family and friends to discover salvation in Jesus Christ, and as a result the church grows.
The church planter is trained to identify others with leadership gifts among the new believers, and then trains them to disciple and help lead the new, growing church of believers. Leaders are equipped to respond biblically to the questions that arise as God’s Word is studied.
Worship and Service
A spiritually maturing church enjoys vibrant worship and service together, and this enthusiasm soon becomes practical, everyday care for those in need. New churches offer an attractive and loving testimony in their community, and engage in acts of service which show the care of God for others. With continued Project Philip training, the new church learns together, suffers and serves together, prays and worships together, and shares the Gospel together.
An obvious and important part of sharing God’s Word is literacy. But many who desperately need the message of the Gospel struggle with reading, especially in impoverished regions. Our Bible-based Literacy program teaches reading and writing skills using Bible-based text.
Learning to Read Using the Bible
Bible-based Literacy has a powerful influence, with both social and spiritual value. Lives are transformed through learning and trusting the Gospel, and new opportunities for evangelism arise naturally from the excitement of learning to read God’s Word. And literacy raises educational levels and living standards throughout communities.
Approximately 775 million adults – 1 in 10 – are functionally illiterate worldwide. Without the ability to access written and digital information, this is a significant obstacle for those living in spiritual and personal poverty.
Our Bible-based Literacy program uses God’s Word to teach reading and writing skills, opening new opportunities, and introducing the Bible to new readers in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States. Learning basic reading, writing and speaking skills with a Bible-based curriculum offers a proven and effective way to communicate God’s Word and transform lives.
- Firm Foundations helps those who want to learn to read and write – available in a variety of languages, including Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Hindi, with each language curriculum designed for each unique culture
- Everyday English offers access to English as a second language – a popular tool for those who want to learn English, and often find faith in Jesus Christ through reading the Bible
In most countries, Bible League International’s Bible-based Literacy program uses the Easy-to-Read™ (ERV) Bible. As new readers sound out the words, read sentences and then entire stories, form letters, write and speak English, they learn the life-changing story of Jesus Christ. As they learn to read and write, their eyes are opened to the truth of God’s Word.
Bible-based Literacy at work
After Annpurna’s husband died, the 45 year-old mother of five was left illiterate, unemployed, and worried about her children’s future. When someone from a local church visited her to share the Gospel, she was invited to join the church’s Bible-based Literacy class. She joined, learned how to read and write in Hindi, and also learned about Jesus.
“The teacher told me to cast my burdens on Jesus because he knows our problems and worries well,” she says. “These words gave me peace and I attended the literacy class regularly. Now, I’m a totally changed person because I know Jesus Christ. He is the head of my family.” Annpurna’s children decided to follow Jesus with her. “Now, I can read and write very well and I can also read the Word of the Living God,” she says.