It was exactly seven years ago when the world’s largest Bible printer, Amity Printing Company (APC), celebrated its printing of 100 million Bibles in a glorious ceremony in China’s Nanjing city.
Fast forward to 2019, on 11th November, APC held another grand-scale celebration with 200 over guests made up of Chinese church and government leaders as well as international visitors including leaders from the United Bible Societies (UBS) Fellowship. It was to celebrate it crossing the 200 millionth Bible milestone.
Who would have imagined that APC was able to print its 2nd 100 million in just seven years when it took 25 years to produce its first 100 million Bibles?
A Celebration with Epic Significance
The 200 millionth Bible milestone celebration included a Bible seminar on the contextualisation of Christianity in China, as well as a Bible exhibit showcasing nearly 300 Bibles. Visitors were so impressed as they toured the 87,000-square-metre factory that day as they witnessed how the world’s largest Bible printing press could print 70 Bibles in one minute so that it could fulfill domestic and international orders amounting to an annual output of 15 million copies.
Since the establishment of APC, a joint venture between UBS and Amity Foundation (AF), over 85 million Bible copies have been printed and distributed within China. These Bibles are also printed and distributed locally in 10 different ethnic minority languages and in Braille.
The remaining over 115 million Bibles printed in more than 130 languages are for export to overseas clients in over 140 different countries and regions around the world, particularly in the African countries.
In his opening address at the celebration, Qiu Zhonghui, Board Chairman of APC and AF paid tribute to APC on its significant milestone achievements, saying that, “Amity Press printed its first Chinese Bible in 1987… and today we are welcoming the birth of the 200 millionth Bible!”
Qiu added that APC’s miraculous achievement would not have been possible without the support of the Chinese government, the Churches in China and UBS. “We sincerely thank the Chinese government and church leaders for their concern, support and guidance to APC. We also want to thank UBS for over 30 years of trust and cooperation. Together, we have achieved a model of international cooperation.”
The Greater Miracle
What could be a greater miracle than the fact that a country which once banned and burned Bibles during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) can allow Bibles to be officially printed since the 1980s, and approved the establishment of a Bible printing press in China’s Nanjing city.
Bishop John Chew, Honorary Consultant to UBS China Partnership (CP) said that it was “by the sheer Grace of God and His Living Word, that Bibles could be officially printed in China” and that APC, together with the Churches in China were able to hold such a celebratory thanksgiving to commemorate the printing of the 200 millionth Bible.
Another overseas guest from the UBS Fellowship, Bishop Dr. Hans-Jurgen Abromeit, Board Vice-Chairman from German Bible Society in alluding to APC being the biggest Bible press in the world remarked, “How this happens, it is a miracle! I am moved by the deeds of God.”
Miracle Born Out of a Desperate Need
Till this very day, APC has been fulfilling the scripture needs of millions of Chinese Christians all over China, a need arising from the exponential growth of the Churches in China since the 1980s.
“The establishment of the Amity Press is a miracle of God and the completion of 200 million copies of Bible by the Press is a testimony to the continued Grace of God. We praise the Lord for His Sovereign Hands on Amity Press, an amazing partnership between the Churches in China, AF and the UBS Fellowship, with the support of the Chinese authorities and Bible Societies’ supporters from all over the world,” says Kua Wee Seng, Director of UBS CP.
“As these Bibles are being read by people in China and in other parts of the world, we believe the Word of God will not return empty but shall accomplish that which the Lord has purposed (Isaiah 55:11 ESV).”
Miracle Extends Overseas
The APC miracle has extended beyond China.
Nanjing’s Amity Press has expanded out of China to Ethiopia where it has established a subsidiary. A plaque to inaugurate APC Ethiopian branch was unveiled at the 200 Millionth Bible Celebration.
UBS Director General Michael Perreau remarked that APC’s establishment, its completion of 200 million Bibles and its expansion overseas are indeed miracles from God.
Who could have thought that Amity Press, born out of an urgent need to provide Bibles to millions of local Chinese Christians, has gone beyond fulfilling its domestic needs to bless the global Church?
However, Mr Perreau also reflected that there are still many people waiting for God’s Word in their own languages; and there are also many people groups who cannot yet know that God speaks their own heart languages.
“It is my prayer that when APC celebrates its 300 millionth Bible, it will include all people as the Bible is for everyone!”
It is our prayers that all people will have access to the Word of God “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV).
Story: Pamela Choo
Photos: Jared Wong
2020 © United Bible Societies China Partnership