Prisoners Requesting Life Recovery Bibles In Record Numbers

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.

Psalms of Lament

Taken from the Africa Study Bible

A Swahili proverb says, Muvumbo wa kañonyi ye witubula
kajo ko aja, meaning, “The beak of the bird is what tells us
the things it eats.” In other words, the kind of person that you
are is shown by your words.

Psalm 77 is a typical psalm of lament. The writer is in
deep trouble and crying out to God. Like a bird’s beak, the
psalmist’s own words describe him as crying out and shouting
(Psalm 77:1), troubled (Psalm 77:2), moaning (Psalm 77:3),
searching for God (Psalm 77:2), longing for help (Psalm 77:3),
and so distressed he cannot pray or sleep (Psalm 77:4). Some
Christians think that showing these kinds of emotions is a lack
of faith, that a person of deep faith only expresses positive
emotions like joy and peace. Some people teach that the
emotional words found in this psalm show that a person is
spiritually weak and does not trust God. But the psalms of
lament teach us something different. The very fact that over
one-third of all the Psalms are laments or complaints shows
us that God is ready to hear our cry. He chose to include an
important number of these kinds of prayers in his holy Word
so we could learn how to express our distress.

Lament psalms follow a pattern with certain characteristics,
some of which can be seen in Psalm 77. Four of the main
parts are calling out to God and asking for help (Psalm 77:1-
3), expressing the lament (Psalm 77:4-10), then choosing to
remember how God acted in the past, and then praising him
on that basis (Psalm 77:11-20).

Verses 10 and 11 are the turning point of the psalm. The
writer was so discouraged that he wondered if God had turned
against him, but then he chose to start thinking about all the
wonderful things God did in the past and it changed his outlook.

God does not ask his children to pretend to be something
they are not or to be dishonest about their struggles.
He encourages us to tell the truth about our distress and
trouble, to give voice to our doubts and fears. But we should
not stop there. We must go on to remember with praise and
thanksgiving all the ways God has proved himself in the past.
Those memories and offering praise for God’s great deeds give
us hope for the future. Let our words show that we are weak
and struggling people who choose to trust in a powerful and
faithful God, even when all seems dark around us!

Read Psalm 77

I cry out to God; yes, I shout.

Oh, that God would listen to me!

When I was in deep trouble,

I searched for the Lord.

All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,

but my soul was not comforted.

I think of God, and I moan,

overwhelmed with longing for his help.


You don’t let me sleep.

I am too distressed even to pray!

I think of the good old days,

long since ended,

when my nights were filled with joyful songs.

I search my soul and ponder the difference now.

Has the Lord rejected me forever?

Will he never again be kind to me?

Is his unfailing love gone forever?

Have his promises permanently failed?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he slammed the door on his compassion?


And I said, “This is my fate;

the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;

I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

They are constantly in my thoughts.

I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

O God, your ways are holy.

Is there any god as mighty as you?

You are the God of great wonders!

You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,

the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.


When the Red Sea*  saw you, O God,

its waters looked and trembled!

The sea quaked to its very depths.

The clouds poured down rain;

the thunder rumbled in the sky.

Your arrows of lightning flashed.

Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;

the lightning lit up the world!

The earth trembled and shook.

Your road led through the sea,

your pathway through the mighty waters—

a pathway no one knew was there!

You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,

with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

Learn more about the Africa Study Bible

Mary’s Testimony: He Is Risen From the Dead

“After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.” Mark 16:9, NLT

Devotional from the Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible

In a legal setting, the testimony of a woman was considered unreliable, subject to undue influences of the heart and imagination and therefore inadmissible. Men of the first century—Jewish, Greek, Roman, Arab—all held this view, albeit in varying degrees. They easily dismissed the words of a woman if those words didn’t fit their assumptions. The disciples rejected Mary Magdalene’s testimony of having seen Jesus (16:11), and they were later rebuked for that by Jesus himself (16:14). Yet of all the followers of Jesus—of all those whom the biblical text refers to as disciples, whether directly or by implication—Jesus appeared first to Mary and the women with her. Not only that, he sent her to tell the news to the men (Matthew 28:10).

Some biblical scholars consider this one of the clearest signs of the Gospel’s authenticity. No man of the first century would fabricate a story about a miracle and then undermine it by having women as the first witnesses to it. It had to be true. But Jesus held an unusual view of women, and Mary of Magdala seemed to be foremost among the women who followed him. She is listed first in every mention of female followers of Jesus, who apparently traveled with him throughout Galilee and, at least on this unusual occasion, to Jerusalem for Passover. We don’t know much about Mary other than the fact that she had been tormented by demons before she met Jesus and then followed him closely But we do know that no other rabbi at this point included women in his circle of followers. Jesus did, even though the sight of women traveling with men who weren’t their relatives surely unnerved a lot of people. And on this trip to Jerusalem, it was good they were there. Many women watched from a distance as Jesus hung dying (Matthew 27:55), long after most of the men had fled.

Mary probably thought she was only going to Jerusalem for Passover, never envisioning Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb. But when he was executed and her world shattered, she remained there. She came to the tomb with her companions, not to witness a resurrection, but to anoint a body. And Jesus put her world together again, better than before, and gave her a testimony for the ages.

What’s the Greatest Gift for Mom This Mother’s Day?

by Kim Adetunji, Bible Brand Manager

You, of course! Your time, your smile, your kindness, a note, a call—or in some circumstances, your apology or forgiveness. That’s probably the absolute best gift you could give this Mother’s Day!

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a meaningful gift to give Mom—so we pulled together a list for you:

5 Reasons a Bible Is the (Second) Greatest Gift for Mom on Mother’s Day

#1: Your Mom deserves the very BEST, and what gift could be better than the living and powerful Word of God? (Plus, there are so many options to choose from that you are bound to find one that she’ll love!)

#2: What other gift—besides prayer, maybe—connects Mom so directly to God than the Bible? When Mom (or you or I) reads through the Bible, God speaks to her (and us)!

#3: It will be a gift your Mom will cherish for a very, very long time—and not just because it’s from you (which is a really huge reason!), but also because being a student of the Word and growing in knowledge of God and his plan for us is a life-long journey. We will never fully mine the riches and depths of this treasure house that is the Bible.

#4: No matter where your Mom is (or isn’t) on her spiritual journey, a new (or first!) Bible could be the fresh inspiration she needs to make spending daily time with God a (new or renewed) priority in her life.

#5: As Mom reads her Bible and reflects on its truths, the more she will become transformed into Christlikeness. The Bible promises us that time spent in God’s Word will never return void! (We saved the very best reason for last!)

Inspire Mom This Mother’s Day!

The #1–selling Inspire Bible line is available in 6 unique editions (pictured above, from left):

Inspire Bible for Girls

Includes 500+ illustrations to color, 300+ devotional readings and prayers, 160+ journaling prompts, fun facts, a beautiful two-color interior & so much more!

Inspire PRAISE Bible

Over 500 all-new Scripture line-art illustrations to color, wide margins for journaling, plus 32 beautiful full-color vellum pages (pictured below). It’s the only Bible with vellum pages! Now available in large print.

Inspire: Proverbs

A square-trimmed, coloring-book-style complete book of Proverbs that is beautifully designed with line-art illustrations to color and extra-wide margins for journaling. Printed on thick art paper.

Inspire: Psalms

A square-trimmed, coloring-book-style complete book of Psalms that is beautifully designed with line-art illustrations to color and extra-wide margins for journaling. Printed on thick art paper.

Inspire Bible (the original)

Over 400 Scripture line-art illustrations to color, plus wide margins for journaling. Available in full-size and large-print editions.

Inspire Catholic Bible NEW!

Our latest addition to the line, the beautiful rose gold Inspire Catholic Bible has over 450 Scripture line-art illustrations to color, plus wide margins for journaling.

Inspire has drawn people of all ages and stages of faith deeper into God’s Word.

Let the Word of God Inspire You.™

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. – 2 Timothy 3:16, NLT

What Does It Mean to Be Saved?

Taken from the HelpFinder Bible

The scene is played out before us many times every year: A man is dramatically rescued from a swollen river; a child is pulled by firefighters from a burning apartment building; a woman is delivered from a would-be assailant by a brave bystander. Each scenario includes a situation of impending peril or destruction, a rescuer or deliverer who intervenes, and a second chance at life for the one saved.

Although the word is rarely used in the media, each is a picture of salvation. The Bible teaches that sin threatens us with broken relationships, spiritual death, and judgment. But God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has provided a way to rescue us from sin’s consequences. He offers us salvation so that we can have a second chance at life, an opportunity to experience a spiritual rebirth into a new and abundant life in the Spirit, and ultimately, eternal life with him forever.

If you’ve gone to church you’ve probably heard people talking about being saved. But what does the Bible say that it means to be saved? Using the HelpFinder Bible index let’s dig into that question.

ROMANS 4:8 | “What joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”
ROMANS 3:24 | “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight.”

Being saved, spiritually speaking, means your sins no longer count against you toward an eternal death sentence. Instead, they are forgiven by the grace of God, and you are given the free gift of eternal life. Being saved does not spare you from earthly troubles, but it does spare you from eternal judgment.

PSALM 103:12 | “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Being saved means your sins have been completely forgiven and removed.

PSALM 51:9-10 | “Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

Being saved means the stain of guilt has been washed away. Guilt doesn’t just appear to be gone—it is gone! You are given a clean slate!

JOHN 10:28-29 | “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”
JOHN 5:24 | “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”

Being saved means you are assured of living forever in heaven, which will actually be a new earth where there will no longer be sin, pain, and suffering. What greater hope could you have?

Learn more about the HelpFinder Bible

It Doesn’t Take Much

How often do we think “I don’t have the skills to make a difference” or “I don’t have the resources to make it worth it”? Throughout the pages of Scripture we are reminded that it’s often the least likely people who can make the biggest impact, and the same is true today.

It’s so exciting to hear stories of how God uses everyday people who are sold out to him to accomplish things that they could never imagine (check out Jeff Hilliard’s story). But it doesn’t have to be on a large scale. Maybe it’s just talking to a friend who needs support, connecting with someone at an outreach event at your church, meeting a new neighbor, or being Christ’s hands of compassion to a person in need.

Here are a few inexpensive resources that can help as you reach out:

Abundant Life Bibles are value-priced and offer readers insights about living the abundant life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. They cover topics such as joy, peace, and dealing with life’s tough issues and offer practical guidance for daily life.

Economy Outreach Editions are softcover Bibles with the entire NLT text that come in three different editions, depending on audience, and can only be ordered in bulk.

The Economy Outreach and Large Print Editions feature resources such as “Welcome to the Bible,” “How to Know Jesus Personally,” “Where Can I Find It,” and “The Apostles’ Creed Bible Reading Plan” that provide helpful guidance to readers who may be encountering the Bible for the first time or are reconnecting with its words of hope and healing.

The Children’s Outreach Edition includes kid-friendly features that answer kids’ questions about the Bible, has a graphic of the books of the Bible, and has a quick guide to the Bible’s big story using 30 images—each described by a single sentence. It also includes first steps to following Jesus and a 10-day reading plan to help kids in their first steps after they accept Christ.

New Believers Bible is uniquely designed to help the new Christian read, study, and understand the Bible. It includes features that help Christians develop and deepen their faith while providing a foundation for their new life in Christ.

HelpFinder Bible makes it easy for anyone, whether familiar with Scripture or not, to find help in the Bible for their immediate needs. Application notes connect the Bible’s truths to today’s issues, and the extensive index points readers to verses where answers can be discovered, issues resolved, and freedom found. The HelpFinder Bible is God’s Word at your point of need.

Tyndale Bibles also has Scripture portions such as an Abundant Life New Testament or the Gospel of John that may be easier for someone just getting to know the Bible.

A verse often quoted by a member of our team reminds us of the power of sharing God’s Word.

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:11, NLT

How a Monkey Cannon Started a Bible Revolution

When Jeff Hilliard purchased a T-shirt cannon, he thought he would be blasting shirts into crowds at Christian concerts, not leading a mission to get Bibles into the hands of military personnel across the globe. But what Jeff is keenly aware of is when you leave something in God’s hands—even a T-shirt cannon—he will use it for his glory.

“When I got the cannon, I wanted to take it for a test run, and my buddy said, ‘why not put stuffed monkeys in there instead?’ I thought he was crazy, but when we gave it a try at the concerts, the people in the audience went nuts. That’s when I got the name ‘the Monkey Commando,’” said Jeff.

Though not Jeff’s favorite nickname, the Monkey Commando was soon well-known across Southern California.

“Totally out of the blue, I got a call from a chaplain of a military base near us. He asked if the Monkey Commando could come and shoot monkeys to the kids on the base during a concert. I, of course, said yes, and that is what started our connection with the military. Soon we found ourselves traveling to military bases to put on Christian concerts and, of course, shoot stuffed monkeys from the cannon, and Operation Worship began,” said Jeff.

While at one of these events, Jeff sat down with the chaplain on base and asked him, if the sky was the limit, what would he want for his military personnel?

“I was floored when he said Bibles. I said, ‘There are all kinds of places you can get free Bibles.’ He said, ‘But those aren’t the kinds of Bibles we need.’”

The chaplain shared three specifics: It must include both Testaments, you have to be able to carry it in your pocket, and the cover needed to be camo to match uniforms.

“I’m a web guy. I didn’t know anything about publishing Bibles, but I knew we had to make this happen. Through some friends, I reached out to Tyndale House Publishers, and they made the chaplain’s dream come true” said Jeff. “Not only did it include all the chaplain’s specifications, it was in the New Living Translation, which couldn’t be more perfect for this ministry.”

The first 25,000 copies of the first edition of the Operation Worship Bible in Army camo were sent to Fort Hood. Word spread quickly, and within a week the Bibles were gone. Since then, more than 1.5 million Operation Worship Bibles have been distributed to military personnel around the world. The Bibles are available in camo matching every branch of the military’s uniforms and with different unit insignias, signifying that the Word of God is uniquely personal for each one of us.

Recently, with the help of a donor, Operation Worship was able to give every member of the Belize Defense Force an Operation Worship Bible with the Belize military logo. (see the video)

“U. S. Military chaplains and commanders from all over the world have reached out asking, ‘Are you the Bible guy? How can I get Bibles?’ They know the importance of this ministry. When you get on a plane or a boat heading to who knows where and have no idea what you’ll be facing, you take a closer look at your life and you need the peace that only God gives,” said Jeff. “Each one of these Bibles is personal, and each person who receives one is precious. I hope that when they open that Bible they are able to understand who God is and that he has a purpose for them.”

From Monkey Commando to Bible Guy, Jeff has let God lead the way. Health issues, difficulty finding funding, and discerning the next step has brought Jeff and his wife, Patti, to their knees in prayer, asking for God’s leading.

“We told God, ‘This is your ministry, not ours. You tell us where to go and what to do,’” Jeff explained. “And God is always faithful.”

Operation Worship continues to look for partners to help them put the Word of God into the hands of soldiers all over the world. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Operation Worship story, visit If you donate right now your donation will be matched up to 26,000 Bibles. Donate here

Finding Jesus in Genesis

Taken from The Wayfinding Bible

Before the events in the book of Genesis even begin, Jesus is there. Jesus, the Word, already existed with God before the creation of the world (John 1:1). God created all things through his Son, Jesus.

You will catch glimpses of Jesus throughout the book: He is Eve’s promised offspring who will crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15); he is Abraham’s descendant who will bless the whole world (12:2); and he is the ultimate king promised as a descendant of Judah (49:10). In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is likened to Melchizedek, the priest-king who appears in Genesis 14.

When Abraham climbs Mount Moriah, prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar, a ram is found to take Isaac’s place, prefiguring what Jesus would become for us: our substitute.

Look inside the Wayfinding Bible