by Jim Jewell, NLT Communications Director
Bible reading is showing an enormous uptick in the most unlikely of places: prisons.
To keep their minds sharp and their hearts encouraged, many prisoners turn to reading, but reading materials are often in high demand and low supply, especially personal Bibles.
According to a recent survey of prison chaplains conducted by Prison Fellowship, most prisoners do not have easy access to individual Bibles.
To help meet this need, Tyndale House Publishers has partnered with Prison Fellowship to offer free Inside Journal NLT Life Recovery Bibles to prisoners who request them by mail. Inside Journal® is Prison Fellowship’s quarterly newspaper for men and women behind bars.
Since the release of the special edition prison editions of the Life Recovery Bible in July 2018, more than 10,000 copies have been provided to prisoners across the country.
Offered in English and Spanish, the Bibles are easy to read and understand. Each Bible includes supplemental content that’s relevant to prisoners. The large-print format is invaluable to the aging prison population, and in cases where cell lighting is poor.
Over the years, Inside Journal has received numerous letters from men and women behind bars longing to receive their own Bible. Here are a few examples:
“I was really wondering if you could please send one [Inside Journal Bible] to me please. I have no one to send me any Bible or mail, and I would really appreciate it. I used to be a drug addict, and I think the recovery Bible will help with my new journey with the Lord.” —Michael, Florida
“I had my own Bible, but I got transferred [to a different prison] and I wasn’t allowed to bring my belongings along with me. … I miss my Bible that kept me busy, kept me learning, and how to forgive and love. I never read the Bible until I came to prison this third time around, and what I can say is what a learning experience it is.” —Wilson, Pennsylvania
“Hello brothers, God bless you. My name is Abraham and I’m in prison. I first met God here in the prison, and so I believe God has a purpose for me in this place, and I’m glad I came. I would like [an Inside Journal Bible] please. Because right now I do not have [a Bible]. Thank you so much, and may God bless you.” —Abraham, Florida
“I had my own Bible, but I got transferred [to a different prison] and I wasn’t allowed to bring my belongings along with me … I miss my Bible that kept me busy, kept me learning, and how to forgive and love.”
Since its founding in 1962, Tyndale House Publishers has been a voice to trust for generations of readers. Today, Tyndale is one of the largest independent publishers in the world. Tyndale’s mission is to make the Bible accessible to as many people as possible in language that they can relate and respond to. Tyndale publishes the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT) and offers nonfiction books that equip readers with Christ-centered insight, counsel, and life-improving stories. In addition, Tyndale publishes fiction from fresh, new voices and celebrated authors alike, capturing the imagination of millions of readers. With a deep understanding of the importance of nurturing future generations, Tyndale also publishes children’s products that make God’s Word and wisdom come alive.
Prison Fellowship® is the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. The organization was founded in 1976 by Charles Colson, a former aide to President Nixon who served a seven-month sentence for a Watergate-related crime. Today, Prison Fellowship brings restoration to those affected by crime and incarceration nationwide by facilitating prisoners’ transformation, supporting prisoners’ families and returning citizens, and advocating for a criminal justice system that reflects the God-given dignity and potential of each life. Through an awakening to new hope and life purpose, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their community, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal.