TORONTO, Ontario — (CANADIAN CHRISTIAN NEWS SERVICE) — Employees of the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) will join with Canadians from coast-to-coast November 11 in marking Remembrance Day, to honour the memory of members of the Canadian Forces who have died in the line of duty. For more than a century, CBS has maintained an important relationship with Canada’s service personnel, providing our military men and women with more than a million copies (estimated) of the Christian Scriptures throughout that time.
It was at the beginning of the First World War in 1914, that CBS representatives first approached the federal government, offering to provide free New Testaments (with Psalms and Proverbs) to every man in the Expeditionary Forces. The Militia Department accepted the Canadian Bible Society’s offer, and so began the production of a special edition, khaki-bound book, bearing the Canadian Coat of Arms. The inside inscription included a quote from the biblical book of Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV.
From that time, the special edition New Testaments were printed in several iterations over the years, with variations in size, cover, and additional content.
In 2007, in response to requests from service personnel, CBS began providing complete Bibles. Since then, almost 60,000 free Bibles (Good News Version in English, French, Catholic and Protestant editions) have been distributed. Designed to match uniforms, the books are bound in both official camouflage colours of the Canadian military – arid and temperate. The Scriptures are given out by military chaplains whenever requested. CBS ensures their supply does not run out.
“At one time, CBS employees referred to this ongoing Bible distribution project as ‘Operation Bible,'” says Rev. Dr. Jonathan Dent, National Director of the Canadian Bible Society. “We don’t call it that any more. But we’re told the military still does.”
In addition to Christian Scriptures, CBS has also published and distributed other free resources, developed specifically for members of the military, at the request of Chaplains, equipping them to more effectively counsel spiritually hurting men and women on issues like anger, grief, doubt, fear of death, and despair.
“The Word of God has transformed my life and now I see it transforming the lives of our soldiers,” said Padre Charles Deogratias. “The camouflage Bibles are a gift of God for the soldiers.”
“The Bible teaches that God is love, and that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another,” says Dr. Dent. “It is our privilege to provide these resources to people who are prepared to lay down their lives for all Canadians. But it is also our purpose. CBS exists to translate, publish and distribute the Bible. And it has been the generous support of countless Canadians across the span of many generations now, that has made – and continues to make – this work possible.”
CBS makes it easy for all Canadians to encourage our service personnel. Printable “Blessing Cards” are available at: https://biblesociety.ca/distribution/operation-bible, by calling the Canadian Bible Society at 1-800-465-2425, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Once a personal note is written on the card and sent back to CBS, the cards are enclosed with shipments of Military Bibles that go out to each base, where they are distributed by Chaplains.
In its 110th year, the mandate of the Canadian Bible Society is today as it always has been: to promote and encourage, without doctrinal note or comment, the translation, publication, distribution, and use of the Bible, and to co-operate with the United Bible Societies in its worldwide work. CBS is a uniquely inter-confessional organization that transcends denominations to partner with individuals, churches, and para-church organizations who similarly believe that God’s Word changes hearts and lives.