The Bible Society was founded by Mary Jones – a determined Welsh girl, helped by Revd Joseph Hughes – a visionary Welsh pastor, and William Wilberforce – a campaigning MP.
In 1800, a 15-year-old Welsh girl named Mary Jones heard that, for the first time in her life, the Bible was available in her own language. Determined to possess a Bible of her own, Mary saved money over six long years and trekked 26 long miles through the rugged terrain of north Wales to buy a copy.
With the help of Revd Thomas Charles of Bala, who arranged lodgings for Mary and sold her three Bibles for the price of one, Mary Jones’ determination was rewarded. Her story and her unswerving desire to get hold of God’s written word soon became the talk of the churches.
Inspired by Mary’s story, and by the reduced-price Bibles for Welsh speakers, Revd Joseph Hughes asked a daring question to church leaders: ‘If for Wales, why not for the kingdom? And if for the kingdom, why not for the world?’ That question, at the Religious Tract Society on 7 December 1802, reverberated across Wales and, ultimately, the world. It was the historic moment that set in motion the founding of THE BIBLE SOCIETY.
Captured by the vision of God’s word being available for all people of the kingdom and wider world, William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect decided to act. They made this vision part of their campaign in the hope of inspiring people to fall in love with the Bible and a Biblically-inspired lifestyle. On 7 March 1804, at a meeting of 300 in Bishopsgate, William Wilberforce and his campaigning groups formed THE BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY, to become BIBLE SOCIETY – committed to offering the Bible to the World.
Today, THE BIBLE SOCIETY stands on the shoulders of these giants – Mary Jones, Revd Joseph Hughes, William Wilberforce and others – committed to faithfully living out their belief that the Bible should be made available for every man, woman and child in the world.
Graphics Courtesy: Wikipedia, Bible Society.