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BLB: Year in Review (part 1)

Well, it’s been quite a busy 12 months at the BLB HQ! Over the next few days, we want to share with you an end-of-the-year update of what God has accomplished through our team here at the Blue Letter Bible. In this first installment, we discuss why our ministry exists in the first place. Thank you for using the BLB!

The Global Need

The ministry of BLB is predicated upon our call to make disciples of all nations and is rooted in the inerrancy and guidance offered by the firm foundation that is the Word of God. In light of this call, BLB has identified information technology as a powerful and increasingly popular avenue through which the Bible is studied. BLB’s mission is supported by three key areas of global need:

  1. Presenting the Word of God as Inerrant, Unchanging, and Foundational
  2. Increased Global Access to Technology
  3. Increased Demand for Online Bible Training

Presenting the Word of God as Inerrant, Unchanging, and Foundational

Above all else, man is in need of forgiveness from sins through faith in Jesus Christ alone, as is revealed in the Word of God, which is followed by a life journey of growing in the understanding of His Truth and magnificence. We know that the Word of God is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV) The Word is inspired by God, “and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV) Sowing Circle’s intention is not only to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but through BLB, to offer in-depth biblical study tools that will encourage and exhort the Body of Christ in deepening their personal walk as well as their ability to accurately divide the Word of God when discipling and evangelizing those living within their communities.

Unfortunately, Bible passages have been distorted to support false religions and doctrines, such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and wealth prosperity doctrines. Such incorrect uses of God’s Word have become alarmingly prevalent around the world, particularly in developing countries. In Western societies, postmodernism has further de-emphasized conservative, Biblical doctrine leaving those, even among Christian circles, prey to false teachings that distract people from maintaining a focus upon Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

Increased Global Access to Information Technology

In an increasingly global society, the world’s access to internet and mobile phones has laid the groundwork for monumental opportunities to disseminate the Word of God and doctrinally sound Bible study tools. This is due to the fact that internet and mobile phone technology is transferring to all reaches of the world at rapid rates. Mobile phone technology, in particular, has offered significant utility at low costs to users throughout the developing world, and has quickly emerged as the communications technology of choice.

According to recent data, global internet usage has increased from 3.2% in 1998 to 21.3% in 2007 and global mobile phone subscriptions has grown from 5.4% in 1998 to 59.8% in 2008. Meanwhile, mobile phone subscriptions specific to least developed countries experienced rapid growth in usage from .06% in 1998 to 21.3% in 2008 (see Figure 1).1 In addition, the rates of change of mobile phone subscriptions (year over year) have shown continued growth trends around the world with particularly high rates of change in least developed countries (see Figure 2). This data not only illuminates the global expansion of mobile telecommunications and internet usage over the past 10 years, but it points to future expansion trends in technology access and usage, particularly in the developing world (source: World Bank).

When viewed in relation to one another, the link between internet and mobile phone use is rapidly converging through the widespread expansion of “smart” phones (mobile phones with internet access). This trend was discussed in an article published by The Economist:

“Now a further mobile phone revolution is under way, driven by the iPhone and other ’smart’ handsets which let users gain access to the internet and download mobile applications, including games, social-networking programs, productivity tools and much else besides. Smart-phones accounted for over 13% of the 309m handsets shipped in the third quarter of 2009. Some analysts estimate that by 2015 almost all shipped handsets will be smart. Mobile operators have started building networks which will allow for faster connection speeds for an even wider variety of applications and services.”(source: The Economist, The Apparatgeist Calls, 2009)

As the internet becomes more widely available through mobile phones, web-based Bible distribution and study resources are positioned to be accessible to billions of people worldwide.

Increased Demand for Online Biblical Training

Concurrent with the rapid expansion of information technology is an increased demand for online Bible training, with a particular emphasis upon regions around the world where Bible training facilities are unavailable. Lay people and church leaders living in developing and closed countries are hungry to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ for both personal enrichment and in the building up of the local church body. However, Bible training facilities are oftentimes disallowed, unavailable, or unreachable by many people groups.

Since 2003, BLB has been monitoring the number of people who have registered as students with BLBi. According to BLBi statistics, 3,126 people living in restricted nations (19% of total foreign students) were registered as students in January of 2010, including students living in Iran (20), Somalia (4), Oman (26), Algeria (48), Vietnam (16), Myanmar (16), and China (120).2

BLB statistics also reveal an increased demand for online Bible education in the United States, as the number of U.S.-based BLBi registrants has grown from 5,726 to 50,365 between 2003 and 2009. This 780% growth rate in United States student registrations over a period of 6 years may be due to the growing popularity and convenience of internet-based learning, and demonstrates an increased affinity to growing in the biblical truths that have been expounded by teachers of the conservative, historical traditions.


Man is ultimately in need of forgiveness from their sins through faith in Jesus Christ alone, as is revealed in the Word of God; which is followed by a life journey of growing in our understanding of Christ’s Truth and magnificence. In light of communications technology advancements, BLB is at the forefront of spreading the Word of God and fostering the spiritual growth of millions of people through increased access to web-based technologies—from the subways of New York City to the remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. In the mid 1990’s, at a time when personal computers were only beginning to surface in mainstream public, the Lord was giving Sowing Circle a vision for Bible access and in-depth study through BLB. Since then, we have faithfully led the way towards providing web-based Bible resources for the edification of the global Church.

It is BLB’s aim to meet the ever-growing global demand of web-based Bible search and study tools. With a full-time staff of computer programmers and technicians alongside a wealth of technological experience and Bible resources, BLB is pioneering web-based Bible search and training resources for the spiritual growth of the Body of Christ throughout all corners of the globe, to His glory alone.