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How Many Countries Is the Bible Banned In?

Bible banned

Do your youth group members realize it’s a privilege to freely own and carry a copy of God’s Word? Do they know the answer to this question: How many countries is the Bible banned in? And are they willing to help get Scripture into more people’s hands throughout the globe? Read on to learn more.

You may have heard the Bible is illegal in 52 countries. That information gets printed on T-shirts and even stitched on Bible covers. “Illegal” may not be strictly true, but it might as well be in most of these places.

Voice of the Martyrs publishes a world map regarding how many countries is the Bible banned in. That organization works to get Scripture into these countries, and Love Packages is honored to work toward the same goal.

The Voice of the Martyrs map is available here. It categorizes countries where Bibles are:

  1. difficult/dangerous to obtain,
  2. illegal or highly restricted, or
  3. strictly illegal and only available through covert smuggling.

Please note: No one is claiming Christianity is illegal in these places. And it’s not about which countries do or don’t have physical church buildings or the presence of Christian communities. Finally, in many larger countries especially, experiences vary based on specific location. Some states or regions may have more religious freedoms or looser enforcement of restrictions than others.

How Many Countries Is the Bible Banned In?

Here’s a list of 52 countries where the Bible is illegal and/or severely restricted:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Iran
  3. Kazakhstan 
  4. Kyrgyzstan
  5. Maldives
  6. Mauritania
  7. North Korea
  8. Saudi Arabia
  9. Somalia
  10. Tajikistan
  11. Turkmenistan
  12. Uzbekistan
  13. Yemen
  14. Algeria
  15. Bhutan
  16. Brunei
  17. China
  18. Cuba
  19. Djibouti
  20. Eritrea
  21. Kuwait
  22. Laos
  23. Libya
  24. Malaysia
  25. Morocco
  26. Oman
  27. Sudan
  28. Tunisia
  29. Bahrain
  30. Bangladesh
  31. Central African Republic
  32. Columbia
  33. Egypt
  34. Ethiopia
  35. India
  36. Iraq
  37. Jordan
  38. Kenya
  39. Lebanon
  40. Mali
  41. Myanmar (Burma)
  42. Nepal
  43. Niger
  44. Nigeria
  45. Pakistan
  46. Philippines (Mindanao)
  47. Sri Lanka
  48. Syria
  49. Tanzania
  50. Turkey
  51. United Arab Emirates
  52. Vietnam

Many ministries print, ship, smuggle, and carry God’s Word into these places. There are almost as many strategies as there are ministries. And it’s breathtaking to consider how the Lord orchestrates his plans: One ministry prints, another uses cutting-edge digital technology, another collects and recycles discarded material.

And your youth group is invited to help! Pray for the work, learn how to collect material to ship, and/or donate toward shipping costs.

How to Get Bibles into 52 Restricted Nations

Pray about how God would have your kids get involved. Move beyond just knowing the answer to how many countries is the Bible banned in!

Love Packages collects new and used Bibles and other Christian literature and ships it overseas. Because we ship to distributors in port cities, we pack materials into cargo containers and ship about 20 tons at a time.

It’s a big job, but it’s the very best use of our resources. Bulk shipping plus donated materials plus lots of volunteer labor means that every $1 you donate puts 10 pounds of the Gospel into the 10/40 window!

Some limitations exist, of course. We can’t ship 20 tons of Bibles and Sunday school workbooks to Beijing, for example. It would never get past port authorities. We ship to distributors who can receive the material—such as India and South Africa—and their networks move it over land.

You and your youth group can help in several ways:

  • Pray for our ministry and work. Pray for our team and volunteers, for the finances needed to ship, and for our distributors and their teams in the field.
  • Donate to help cover costs. If we assume, for simplicity’s sake, that a Bible weighs about one pound, every $1 you donate puts 10 Bibles on the mission field. That’s a good return!
  • Collect used materials for us. Put a box in your church foyer. Scan the bookshelves at local resale stores. Hit up garage sales. We have materials to organize a Bible collection drive at your church, available to download for free.
  • Order materials for us. We ship to distributors who can use mostly English literature. But we also organize foreign language material. You can order a case of Swahili New Testaments, for example, and have them shipped right to us.

God is doing a great work to get his Word to his people all over the world. How will you be part of the work?

By the way, remember to lift up these people in prayer too. Use this list of how many countries is the Bible banned in to pray for persecuted Christians throughout the world.

This article originally appeared here.

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Steven J. Schmidt is the founder and director of Love Packages, a worldwide missionary outreach, which circulates Christian literature by collecting new/used/outdated material from across the United States and shipping it to third world nations.