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National Association of State and Regional Bible Societies 

Mission and Purpose

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!" . . .So, faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:13-15,17 NRSV)

State and regional Bible societies are committed to "achieving the widest possible, effective and meaningful distribution of the Holy Scriptures" in their areas, and to "helping people interact with the Word of God."

"The Bible societies seek to carry out this task in cooperation with all Christian churches, and church-related organizations. The Bible societies see the churches as the primary agents of God's mission in the world. Bible societies serve the churches and their partner organizations as a resource, but do not usurp the mission of the churches."(United Bible Societies statement, Oct. 2000)

NASRBS is an association of state and regional Bible societies in the United States, formed to support and strengthen the work of member Bible societies by:

- increasing communication between members
- exchanging information
- nurturing relationships among members
- facilitating coordination
- enabling collaboration
-developing partnerships

We believe

- State and regional Bible societies have an important role to play
in the United States.
- Biblical themes and principles have been significant in our national history and must influence our nation in the future.
- Biblical illiteracy is increasing in contemporary American society.
- The distribution of the divinely inspired Word of God, the Bible,
and the communication of the Good News of Jesus Christ it contains,
is essential to developing a meaningful and creative personal life,and the upbuilding of a moral nation and a just society.

"Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.The Scriptures train God's servants to do all kinds of good deeds."(2 Timothy 3:16,17 CEV)

Our Story

The first modern Bible society was founded in England in 1804 in order to meet the need for affordable Bibles at home and overseas, including North America.The British and Foreign Bible Society, as it was known, encouraged both the spread of God's Word and the formation of other Bible societies to meet local and regional needs.

The first Bible Society in the United States was established in 1808 in Philadelphia; today it is known as the Pennsylvania Bible Society*. By the end of 1809, Bible societies had been established in Connecticut*, Massachusetts*, Maine*, New York** and New Jersey. They were soon joined by societies in Maryland*, New Hampshire*, Vermont*, Rhode Island*, and other states and regions. Everywhere, business, civic and religious leaders came together in the effort to place the Scriptures into every home and school across the land. A list of Bible society founders reads like a "Who's Who" of the early Republic.

By 1816 there were dozens of state and regional Bible societies in the United States,bringing the need for corrdination in printing Bibles, and in carrying the work into the West as well as overseas.Representatives of many of the state Bible societies joined with others to establish the American Bible Society. Many state and regional societies entered into "auxiliary" relationships with ABS, while maintaing their own structures and ministries.

As America expanded westward, new Bible societies were founded to meet local needs. Among these were the Bible Society of Western New York and the Chicago Bible Society*.By 1900, there were hundreds of Bible societies across the U.S., organized at state, county and city levels. Bible society missionaries, known as colporters, literally carried God's Word door to door, ship to ship, and church to church to make Scriptures available to everyone.

State and regional Bible societies have been committed to serving the people and churches of their local areas. They have especially reached out to the poor and the forgotten, and to the successive waves of new neighbors, many of them non-English speakiing. Today, these Bible societies still work at the local level.

In 1995, representatives of several original state Bible societies met to renew their commitment to their common ministry to communities throughout the nation. Their meetings resulted in the formation of the National Association of State and Regional Bible Societies in June, 1996.

The Bible still remains the most important Book in our nation, and it is from this book that we draw our values for life. Most Americans own a Bible but many do not read it. Bible societies are therefore involved not only in distributing Scriptures, but also in efforts to encourage the reading of God's Word and to help people understand and apply it in their lives.

* denotes a member of NASRBS
** This became the International Bible Society,
with headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO;
a subsidiary New York Bible Society was a
charter member of NASRBS, but was later
closed by the parent organization.