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Free Bibles available at Olympics

BEIJING (BP)–Bibles and Christian evangelistic materials are being made available free of charge to athletes and visitors at the Olympic Games in China.

Holman Bible Outreach International has provided copies of the Gospel of John from their new Mandarin Chinese Standard Bible to several organizations that will present them as gifts at the games. The Mandarin-language New Testament was completed in June, according to HBOI, an arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Chinese scholars worked cooperatively with Holman’s translation team to produce a readable contemporary Chinese Mandarin Bible that also is theologically accurate. Work on the Old Testament is underway.

“The Chinese Standard Bible is the most accurate translation of God’s Word in everyday language and will be a true source of encouragement for those who have struggled to understand outdated Chinese translations,” said Phill Burgess, executive director of Holman Bible Outreach (holmanbibleoutreach.org). “We are delighted to offer the Mandarin translation of the Gospel of John, which was developed for Chinese people, by Chinese people, for free during the Olympics.”

In another Bible distribution project, a special bilingual Bible produced by Amity Press, the publishing arm of the government-registered China Christian Council, is being made available at no charge in the Olympic Village where the Olympic athletes and media are housed, according to the China Daily newspaper. The English Standard Version and Chinese Union Version texts appear side by side in the edition.

In addition to the 10,000 bilingual CUV-ESV Bibles, 30,000 New Testaments and 100,000 bilingual editions of the four Gospels also will be available during the games.

“It is a great joy for all of us at Crossway Bibles to have a small part in providing God’s Word to the church in China through the publication of the CUV-ESV bilingual Bible,” said Lane Dennis, president of Crossway Books (crossway.org), which published the ESV translation. “We pray this is just the beginning of building partnerships with the church in China for the publication of Bible resources that will help meet the needs of the Chinese people.”

A third publication, a book co-written by American evangelist Luis Palau and Chinese scholar Zhao Qizheng, also is being distributed to athletes and the media during the games.

“A Friendly Dialogue between An Atheist and A Christian” is the result of conversations between the two that began in May 2005 when Palau visited China as part of a delegation of American business, cultural and spiritual leaders, according to a statement released by the Luis Palau Association. The joint book effort seeks to build bridges of understanding through the discussion of widely varying topics, including philosophy, history, religion, science, the Bible, politics, ethics and Christianity.

Chinese publisher New World Press is making thousands of copies of the book’s English version available at the Olympic press center, the Olympic Exhibition Hall, the Beijing International Media Center, at newsstands in the Olympic Village, designated Olympic Games hotels and the Beijing International Airport.

“The true spirit of the Olympics — mutual respect and friendship — was at the heart of ‘A Friendly Dialogue’ from the beginning,” Palau said in the statement. “That we can share those conversations, which include a straightforward proclamation of the Gospel, at the Olympic Games is an incredible blessing and honor.”
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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