Since its first formal registration in 1837, The Bible Society of Singapore sought to make God’s Word known especially throughout the Asia Pacific region. In the early years, this meant putting the Bible into people’s hands through translation, publishing and distribution. With new challenges arising from changing times and needs, the mission gradually transformed to include putting the Bible into their hearts through literacy, engagement, advocacy and holistic missions. As the Society prepares to celebrate its 180th Anniversary, here are some highlights of the Bible Mission work in Singapore and its transformation over the years.
1804: The global Bible Mission commenced with the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
1823: The Bible Mission in Singapore took off with Morrison sending 1,000 Chinese New Testaments to the country for distribution.
1837: The Singapore Auxiliary Bible Society was formally registered.
1946: The United Bible Societies (UBS) was formed to fulfil the global Bible Mission more effectively.
1962: The Society became an associate member of UBS.
1967: The Society participated in the first Asia South-Pacific Regional Conference, held by UBS in Bangkok.
1978: The Society was actively involved in the preparation and holding of the Singapore Billy Graham Crusade, which greatly impacted the face of Christianity in Singapore.
1988: The Society became a full member and contributing society of UBS.
1994: The need for Scripture use in the context of holistic missions was first brought up at the 5th UBS World Assembly.
1999: The Society published its first Bible study handbook, The New Covenant: The Synoptics in Context by Dr William J Dumbrell.
2000: At the 6th UBS World Assembly, Scripture engagement was added to the definition of the Bible Mission. The practice of partnership and cooperation with all churches and Christian organisations was also officially adopted.
2004: The first Bible Mission Trip was organised, with participants visiting Nanjing, Chengdu and Kunming in China.
- The WISE programme was officially launched, along with the Biblical Studies Programme.
- The first Bible Land Tour to Israel was organised in partnership with Trinity Theological College (TTC).
2012: Singapore was formally designated by UBS as one of its four Mission Resource Hubs.
2013: The Society attended the inaugural UBS Asia Affinity Alliance meeting, where leaders of Bible Societies in Asia met to discuss issues regarding the Bible Mission work in the region.
- The Sower Institute for Biblical Discipleship was officially established.
- The Society organised a trip to Tacloban, the Philippines, to provide humanitarian relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
- The first Colours of the Bible art competition and exhibition was organised in partnership with the Embassy of Israel in Singapore.
- The Society partnered with TTC and the National Council of Churches of Singapore to form the ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity.
- The first ETHOS Conversation was held, where public figures, experts and Christian leaders meet to dialogue on important societal issues.
- The Society sent a team to ISIS-ravaged Lebanon to provide relief to the refugees there.
- The Society partnered with the Bible Society of Myanmar to launch a literacy programme in Myanmar.
- The first D6 Family Conference in Singapore was organised in collaboration with D6 Family Ministries.
- International Bible Experiences Pte Ltd was officially registered.