Breaking world records: 428.2 million scriptures given out — including 34 million Bibles — last year

A worker packs new printed Bible books in a packing room at Amity Printing factory in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China.Reuters

The number of scriptures distributed around the world by international Bible Societies broke the records with over 428.2 million, including 34 million full Bibles sold and given out — a 6 percent increase from the figure in 2013.

Aside from full Bibles, included in the number of scriptures given out are Testaments, Gospels, and other smaller scripture items, according to the United Bible Societies.

That same year, the Bible Society in England and Wales sold and gave out 20,986 Bibles, 1,364 Testaments and 21,385 Gospels. However, more and more people in that area are relying on gaining access to Bibles online, with 90,000 individuals downloading the Bible or part of it in audio form from the Bible Society's website.

"As the cost of translating, printing and distributing Bibles increases, we are overjoyed that we have been able to distribute more Bibles than ever in the last 12 months," said Head of Individual Giving at Bible Society Alan Kember. "This is a huge achievement for Bible Society and instils hope that more and more people around the world are open to and engaged in reading the Bible. We exist to offer the Bible to the world and it is our hope that we will one day see a world where everyone has access to the Bible and can recognise its value for them, their families and communities."

America distributed the biggest number of scriptures last year totalling 341.5 million, including 14.4 million full Bibles. After the United States, Brazil is the second biggest distributor of scriptures with a total of 288.7 million. That number is more than two-thirds of the global total of scriptures distributed.

Bible Society Executive Director Dr Rudi Zimmer said the huge number of scriptures released in Brazil might have something to do with the FIFA World Cup in 2014. "Brazilians are football mad, and the World Cup was a wonderful opportunity to share God's Word with the many football fans who were celebrating the tournament," he said.

There is also an increase in Bible distribution in deprived areas around the world such as Cuba, Syria and various countries in Africa. There were 1.5 million scriptures distributed in Cuba last year, which is more than double the number distributed back in 2010.

Meanwhile, African scripture distribution rose in 2014 by 31 percent, with 7.3 million given out compared to the number from 2010. As for Syria, the United Bible Societies noted that more than five times the number of Testaments were distributed there in 2014 compared to the figure in 2010 before the civil war broke out.