In this article, we at Bibles for America (BfA) would like to provide a brief history and update regarding the giving away of free copies of the New Testament Recovery Version in the United States.
On many occasions, Brother Lee stated that the riches of his ministry were not just for the local churches but for all God’s children. He spoke of his burden for the saints in the churches to be faithful, pure-hearted ones who go out and spread the truths the Lord has given His recovery. Here are just two excerpts that express this burden:
“The Lord’s commission is His recovery, and His recovery today is to recover Christ as life, to recover the church as our living, to recover the enjoyment of Christ as everything to us, and to recover all the significances of the church life for the purpose of not only preaching the gospel but also spreading the truth. I believe that this is the unique reason that He has given us nearly all the truths in today’s Christianity. He has given us His truths for us to spread them not only to Christians but even to the unbelievers. The entire globe is under darkness. Every human being on the earth needs to hear the truth, but our spreading of the precious truths that we have received has been extremely limited. There have been many strong testimonies concerning people getting attracted and caught by the footnotes in the Recovery Version, but who has the burden to go out and spread these truths?” (Elder’s Training, Book 08: The Life-Pulse of the Lord’s Present Move, ch. 8)
“The Lord has given us all the truths and has brought His recovery to the United States to be a center of His recovery. We need to give ourselves to see the truths of the Lord’s recovery spread to the entire earth. All the dear Christians need the same truths. We have to go out to send them the truths also. We should not try to get them to come out of the denominations to join us. We are not for this. We are for the spreading of the truths so that the Lord’s people may be enlightened, nourished, and edified. We have to believe that the truth wins and that the Lord’s words will do a marvelous job. This is the right way to spread the Lord’s recovery without any sectarianism.” (Elders’ Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (1), ch. 1)
Brother Lee urged the brothers and sisters to go forth and simply read a footnote to someone. He even encouraged them to buy copies of the Recovery Version to give away.
“He has given us His truths for us to spread them not only to Christians but even to the unbelievers. The entire globe is under darkness. Every human being on the earth needs to hear the truth...”
“After much prayer and consideration, they were led by the Lord to find a way to get the Recovery Version into the hands of people who had no idea that such a treasure existed.”
Taking Brother Lee’s burden for the spread of the truth to heart, in the late 1990s some co-workers in Southern California met to seek the Lord. After much prayer and consideration, they were led by the Lord to find a way to get the Recovery Version into the hands of people who had no idea that such a treasure existed.
After further fellowship, Bibles for America was founded in 2000 as a nonprofit organization with a clear mission: to purchase and give away copies of the New Testament Recovery Version to anyone in the United States who wanted one, trusting in the Lord for the monetary support to carry this out.
Shortly after BfA was founded, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, shook the United States, and the whole nation was in shock and mourning. We had a deep conviction that only the truth could be the real comfort to people and lead them to the meaning of their human life. The Lord led us to travel in a motorhome across the country to Ground Zero in New York City to give people this New Testament Recovery Version as a free gift.
Along the way, we met so many who were open to the gospel of Jesus Christ and hungry to understand the Bible. We simply read verses and notes from the Recovery Version with people one on one, witnessing firsthand the profound effect this had on them. They were so grateful and became eager to receive their own free copy.
Our encounters with hungry people everywhere attested to Brother Lee's burden for the truth to be spread and confirmed the mission of BfA. Soon after, we began to make many more trips in motorhomes full of free New Testaments to give away in different regions of the country.
On these trips, we stopped at places like college campuses, Walmarts, retail centers, and other venues. We also met people in unexpected places after we got lost or made unscheduled stops. It was clear that God had planned each of these spontaneous encounters for us to meet a son of peace. We rejoiced at every divinely arranged appointment that testified of God’s sovereignty, but we realized we were still limited in how many people we could physically reach.
“We had a deep conviction that only the truth could be the real comfort to people and lead them to the meaning of their human life. The Lord led us to travel in a motorhome across the country to Ground Zero in New York City to give people this New Testament Recovery Version as a free gift.”
Observing the rise of the internet during the early 2000s, we saw that having an online presence would be an even more effective way for people to find our free offer. After much prayer, the Lord led us to launch the Bibles for America website in 2007.
While we have continued to take smaller trips to give away the Recovery Version in person, people no longer have to meet us physically in order to get one. Instead, they can easily order one at any time, from anywhere in the country.
Here's what one recipient had to say after receiving his New Testament Recovery Version:
“It’s been a true joy to read this Bible because of the footnotes! There’s just so much I don’t understand and so many things that confuse me in the Bible. Having the footnotes is like having a Bible scholar by my side at all times, ready to answer all my questions and shed insight on everything I’m missing or not understanding. It’s been amazing. I can’t thank you enough for this Bible. It’s like it was a gift from Jesus Himself. Like He knew that if only I had this Bible to make things clear to me, I’d find my path to Him. A path I’ve been searching for my entire life.”
Early on, we rented a facility in Southern California where we could house the thousands of Recovery Versions we purchased and prepare them for shipment. Faithful brothers and sisters came regularly to pack and ship out the orders each week, praying for everyone who would be receiving a Recovery Version.
As a result of going online, we began shipping out New Testaments in increasing numbers, reaching people in every state and US territory. In 2013, we gave away our one millionth New Testament.
Eventually, we outgrew the capacity of our original warehouse. So in early 2020, we moved to a larger facility just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the nation began to shut down. In the face of the widespread uncertainty affecting every facet of life, we observed a deepening desire in people to know God and understand the Bible. It was obvious people were desperately searching for meaning.
By the Lord's grace, the BfA staff was able to continue shipping operations while complying with the mandated restrictions. At the end of 2020, we shipped out over 127,000 free Bibles, more than ever before in a single year.
One Bible recipient from 2021 said:
“I carry my beautiful Bible with me to work every day. My wife checked it out and wants a copy of her own, so she too can carry one to work. I am a plumber, and she is a teacher. We both have opportunities to witness. The footnotes in this Bible are phenomenal and a great tool for witnessing.”
“...just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the nation began to shut down...we observed a deepening desire in people to know God and understand the Bible.”
“At the end of 2020, we shipped out over 127,000 free Bibles, more than ever before in a single year.”
“We are burdened to give away 3 million more New Testaments by the end of 2030. As this age grows darker, we believe the hunger for God and His Word will only intensify.”
In our first 20 years, we gave away over 1.75 million copies of the New Testament Recovery Version. Each copy is a seed conveying the interpreted Word of God to someone. Our burden is to continue to sow, trusting in the Lord that His word will not return to Him void but will prosper in the matter to which He sends it (Isa. 55:11).
To this end, we are burdened to give away 3 million more New Testaments by the end of 2030. As this age grows darker, we believe the hunger for God and His Word will only intensify. God alone can satisfy the deep need of the human heart; surely He is using the environment to stir up eternity in man's heart to seek Him.
Brother Lee was so burdened that the precious truths the Lord has given His recovery need to be spread to the whole inhabited earth. Our prayer is that the Lord would continue to use Bibles for America as a channel to dispense these precious truths to the hungry hearts in this country.
May our Savior God's desire for all men to be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth be satisfied (1 Tim. 1:3-4).