Prison Fellowship has distributed 100,000 Bibles to prison inmates during the pandemic.
“During a time when prisons had shut down and incarcerated men and women had to go without visitations or programming, there’s this sense of hopelessness in prisons,” CEO James Ackerman said. “God put on people’s hearts and encouraged chaplains to promote the word of God. And that hope of the gospel found itself in such high demand is so encouraging to me.”
Prison Fellowship gave out 100,000 copies of The Life Recovery Bible, Tyndale’s bestselling recovery Bible, in nine months. The Life Recovery Bible, based on the New Living Translation, features content based on the 12-step recovery model. According to Tyndale’s website, “This Bible for addiction points to God himself as the primary source of recovery, with essential tools and features that help free people from the grip of addiction.”
Bibles are one of the most common things asked for by prisoners. One incarcerated individual requested one of the ministry writing, “I’m in prison here in Florida doing 15 years for attempted murder. I’d love to get closer to the Lord and would love to do a Bible study but I have no Bible and my eyes aren’t too good. I would need a large print Bible so I can see. I hope to hear from you real soon.”
That’s a common refrain from prisoners who often feel there is no hope and few ways to hear the gospel.
“Having a Bible that speaks to addiction recovery and needs was also a priority for us,” Ackerman said. “The Life Recovery Bible by Tyndale was the perfect fit for what we were exploring.”
The Bible provides prisoners the opportunity “to start a life of new beginnings” with Jesus Christ,” he said. “The aim is for people who have struggled with addiction and that addiction, and that addiction led to other unproductive activities in their life, to realize that they can be healed of that addiction, that Jesus wants to heal them of that addiction and to allow them to start a life of new beginnings.”
Although many correctional facilities were concerned that the pandemic would agitate prisoners, the Prison Fellowship president noted that the opposite effect took place through these Bibles. Ackerman explained that The Life Recovery Bible has helped inmates stay calm, strengthening the faith of those who were already believers and encouraging non-believers “to really sit down and crack open that Bible and read it.”
“It is creating an environment of calmness in the prison that the Department of Corrections feared might not be there,” he said.
Since partnering with Tyndale in 2018, Prison Fellowship has distributed more than 162,000 Bibles to men and women in prison.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice