Imagine Bible League International distributing Bibles with famous landmarks on the cover: the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Empire State Building in New York, and Big Ben in London. Far-fetched? Not really. But the bigger question is: Why?
The answer comes from Dr. Peter Pilon of the Loukas Foundation.
"Those who receive it (in those cities) automatically connect it with something local and familiar." The concept is called the "City Bible", and Dr. Pilon and his wife Els first experimented with it in his home country of Macedonia. In 2008, an outreach effort using the City Bible was launched featuring cover photos of, among other things, the image of the well-known clock tower in Bitola, the Skopje City Museum Clock, and the towers of Marko Fortress in Negotino.
Bible League International became aware of the project when Stoyan Petrovski, national director for the Bible League in Macedonia, followed up after the initial evangelism efforts and organized teaching and discipleship for new believers. Now Bible League International is partnering with the Loukas Foundation to see the development and distribution of further City Bibles.
Dr. Pilon continues, "City Bibles are the ultimate tool in the hands of local believers." Members of local churches are encouraged to take four City Bibles, one for a friend, a relative, a colleague at work and a neighbor, and then to share the gospel with them. "The best moment to hand someone a City Bible is after a talk about the gospel," Pilon explained.
Now, the Spanish edition of the City Bible Jerusalem is in preparation. Also on the way are the Easy-to-Read™ Arabic translations of City Bible Nazareth and City Bible Bethlehem for the Muslim communities of those two cities. City Bible projects for cities in Albania, Bulgaria and Croatia are underway, with plans for an English version in major cities in the United Kingdom and New York. The Pilons have Slovenia, Poland and Turkey on their radar as well and requests are coming in from locations from Africa to Azerbaijan. Whenever possible, the Pilons use BLI's Easy-to-Read translations (http://www.bibleleague.org/what-we-do/easy-to-read-bibles) of the Scriptures for their City Bibles.
More information can be found at the Loukas Foundation website: www.stichtingloukas.nl