NFL players give away 500 Bibles over the holiday season

(Photo: Facebook/Athletes for Charity)

Seven NFL athletes took some time off the football field to help spread the word of God this Christmas.

Together with Athletes for Charity, Don Carey and Andre Fluellen of the Detroit Lions, Ryan Lindley of the Arizona Cardinals, Kawann Short of the Carolina Panthers, Kevin Pamphile and Alterraun Verner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Reggie Walker of the San Diego Chargers hosted the 2014 Holiday Bible Giveaway.

The initiative, which is now on its third year, gave away 500 premium Tyndale study Bibles to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook followers of the football players.

According to Athletes for Charity president Cathleen Laporte, tapping well-known athletes to bring attention to the Word of God via social networking sites is effective.

"We're using our social media as a platform to share the word of God and to gift the greatest gift, a Bible," Laporte said, according to The Christian Post. "We're able to spread the word far more quickly than by just physically speaking."

The athletes involved in the Bible giveaway employed different methods to encourage participation.

Lions safety Carey, who heads Don Carey International Ministries with his wife, posed trivia questions to generate interest. Walker, on the other hand, merely asked his fans to tweet #HolidayBibleGiveaway on his birthday.

Buccaneers cornerback Verner, who was one of the first NFL players to participate in the Athletes for Charity project, asked his followers to share their favourite biblical passages before he randomly selected 25 winners.

Said Verner, "This is the season of giving and what better gift to give someone than a Bible.

"I love hosting the Holiday Bible Giveaway each year because it allows me the opportunity to give away the greatest gift to my fans and followers and share my love for God's Word with them."

Laporte, the person behind the Bible project, explained why she started the initiative.

"I view the Bible as a life guide. There isn't a problem that you can encounter that you can't find some refuge or an answer to in the Bible. There are so many things going on in the world that if people actually used the Bible as a life guide, we'd see a better world," she said.