Transforming Values with the Good Book

The Philippines boldly professes to be the only Christian Nation in Asia and with good reason. In 2010, it ranked 5th among the largest Christian nations in the world, while in 2019, it ranked as 3rd largest Catholic country globally, following Brazil and Mexico. More than 90% of the Filipinos are Christians, majority being Roman Catholic. The people’s Christian heritage stems from the Spanish colonial times with the arrivial Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1565. As such, it is of no surprise that the frontrunner for the Bible or the “Good Book,” is the Philippines.

According to the World Christian Database, Christianity has grown from a little more than 62 million Christians in East and Southeast Asia in 1970, to more than 266 million people in 2015. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be 431 million Christians in Asia, nearly 20% of the projected population.

Nora G. Lucero, General Secretary – The Philippine Bible Society

Aligned to the Christian’s mandate to spread the good news, the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) aims to “Making the Bible Known” and provide the widest possible and effective distribution of the Bible in various languages. It parnters with the 8 Pillars of Society : Arts and Entertainment, Business, Church, Education, Family, Government, Media, and Science and Technology.

In 2005, we conducted a survey on Bible ownership and readership and 60% of our people do not have a copy of God’s word. Hence, we launched the “May They be One” Bible Campaign in 2008 with the goal to distribute 5 million Bibles to 5 million poor families at a subsidized price of Php50/copy. We were able to distrubute over 3 million Bibles and over 10 million New Testament Bibles to the poorest of the poor.

Nora G. Lucero, on bringing the Good News to the poorest of the poor

Faith in National Identity

The National Identity of a people group or a nation plays a very critical role for a people to achieve its full human development potential. After all, people are bondservants to their beliefs. It serves as foundational principles by which a people defines its norms and values. PBS understands this complex and deep-seated corelation, as such it sprearheaded the approval of the proclamation of the “Bible Week” since the 1980s, with three Filipino presidents supporting it – Former Presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos. In 2018, current President Rodrigo Duterte expanded it by declaring January as the “National Bible Month.”

PBS unites Catholics and Protestants in celebrating the Bible. Various Protestants and Catholic churches celebrate the National Bible Month through parades, Bible quizzes, Bible distribution, artistic contests and the ecumenical public readings of the Bible.

Nora G. Lucero, on Unity in the Christian Faith

The Role of Faith in Molding Leaders

PBS also works with pastors and churches to help bring the good news to the various stakeholders in the country. With the Philippines being a Christian nation, the values formation of the Filipinos as a people is aligned to its dominant religious belief.

The Christian faith of the Filipino people molded our society, permeated across structures, norms and belief systems. These will definitely influence the way we fashion our future in a collective sense. Not only do we see the logic behind Christianity when we implment laws and justic systems, we also see the sustainability of our future as a ntion when we talk about our core values right at the heart of the family. This is the basic unit of society. It is important that the family initiates the values we find in the Holy Scriptures.

Nora G. Lucero, on how faith molds a society

If we raise today a generation of Christians with fear of the Lord and love for His Word and others, we will see a future of leaders with integrity.

Nora G. Lucero, on how faith can mold future leaders

Doing by Hearing Optimized by Using the Native-Language Approach

Translating the Bible is essential to Christianity, with a mandate to share the gospel to a multitude of people groups. It has been translated from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Bible translation strictly adheres to the “Guiding Principles for Interconfessional Cooperation in Translation the Bible.” In the Philippines, PBS translated the Bible into the 8 major dialetcts to help provide better access and deeper understanding to majority of the Filipinos.

We have translated the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, into 8 major languages: Ilocano, Pampango, Pangasinan, Tagalog, Bicol, Cebuano, Samarenyo (Waray), Hiligaynon (Ilonggo), using both the formal or form-based and the function or meaning-based approaches. Because of this, a very high percentage of Filipinos who heard the Gospel first, grew in their knowledge and love of God through these language translations.

Nora G. Lucero, on the importance of using the navite language for effective understanding and deeper comprehension

Another major innovation is the Pinoy Version of the New Testament, using hetorogenous languages or common daily use to reach the younger and more contemporary audience. As sample verse taken from Galatians 1:6 reads: “Sobrang na-shock ako sa inyo. Ang dali nyo namang talikuran ang Diyos. Imagine, sobrang bait nya at pinadala nya si Christ sa atin. Ang Diuos mismo and pumili sa in yo, tapos ngayon, ine-entertain nyo ang ibang gospel?”

Encouraging Frontliners During the Covid19 Pandemic

The Covid19 pandemic did not deter PBS from doing its work. Instead, it persevered in encouraging our frontliners as we try to rise above the crisis that has been bringing about feelings of insecurity, distress and even hopelessness to so many Filipinos.

Our Christian faith has given us the strength to go through various trials in our history, including the current Covid19 crisis. We are able to stand firm and look forward with hope to the future despite how great our trials are because of our Christian roots. Our Christian faith is fed by the Bible. Bothe Catholics and Potestands agree on this – the Bible is basic to our people: the knowledge of God and His Word keeps us strong and resilient.

Nora G. Lucero, on Christianity as the source of the Filipino people’s resilience

For 120 years now, the Philippine Bible Society remains faithful to its compelling mission to make the Bible available for all. With your help, it can pursue its vision of “A Philippines trnasformed through the Word of God.”

You can help!

Organize Prayer Groups – PBS needs coordinators for each city to spread the prayer requests from PBS and other Bible Societies in the world.

Distribute Bibles and tracts – You can volunteer to distribute Bibles to hospitals, market places, government offices, corporations and prison cells.

Share in Social Media – Raise awareness through your social media channels

Donate – You can give a one time gift or be a monthly supporter to help PBS bring the Word to more Filipinos in need

You can deposit to Account Name: The Philippine Bible Society – BPI Account Number 00-3903-0649-34 | PNB Account Number 1685-1004-0535 | BDO Account Number – 00451-001339-9

Visit: | Facebook: Philippine Bible Society (PBS)

Photo Credits: Nora G. Lucero and Philippine Bible Society

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