The governments of many nations have declared Bibles to be illegal. And since we, like the apostles, must obey God rather than men (see Acts 5:27–29), they treat us as criminals — smugglers of dangerous contraband — for bringing God’s Word to our Christian brothers and sisters in restricted nations. Likewise, terrorists and other militant groups view us as enemies as we risk our lives to replace Bibles they have destroyed and to ensure that each Christian in a hostile area has a personal copy of the Bible.
The Bible stands alone as the one book in the world that groups and governments spend an enormous amount of time, money and effort to eliminate. But why? The answer should encourage and excite us.
Persecutors are convinced that God’s Word is powerful and effective. God has said that His Word is truth (John 17:17), and the North Korean regime unwittingly provides corroborating testimony. For many years, we have watched the North Korean government expend significant resources in its attempts to block our Bible-smuggling efforts. They know that the truth of God’s Word is by far the greatest threat to exposing the lies they tell their people.
God also has said that His Word is like a weapon that defeats false belief (Ephesians 6:17), and the Islamist Iranian regime unwittingly testifies to this truth. Iran’s secret police fiercely oppose Bibles because they know each one is a weapon that no Quran can withstand. When we talk with Muslims, especially their religious leaders, we always look for an opportunity to challenge them: “We have read the Quran. Will you read the New Testament?” We do this because we know that anyone who reads both texts while sincerely seeking the truth about God will find it only in the Bible and never the Quran. The Quran, like all other religious texts in the world, is powerless in the presence of a Bible. Darkness and lies are no threat to light and truth.
Persecutors know that their oppressive ideologies are weaker than God’s Word, so we can expect their continued opposition to the Bible. But we have God’s promise that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). They cannot win, so we joyfully continue to distribute Bibles no matter the difficulty or danger.
With all my heart, I believe the Lord will allow us to succeed in providing a Bible to every Believer in a hostile area or restricted nation — and that we will see it happen in this generation.