Books on Tape – recordings of the Bible in 1400 languages


I’m not sure whether this joke will be understood by future generations but I enjoyed it and I’m glad that cartoonist John Atkinson shares his works under a generous licence.

Audio books have been around for a number of years. Some are available in a number of different languages but none have been translated and recorded quite so much as the Bible. Thanks to the generosity of translators and publishers, the diligent hard work of those who track down and manage publishing agreements for copyrighted work, and the amazing work of technicians, editors, and of course voice actors some or all of the Bible is available in audio form in at least 1400 languages.

One of the pioneers in this is Faith Comes By Hearing who have been recording New Testaments and Bibles on tape and now MP3 and other digital formats since the 1980’s.

Another is the Jesus Film which as it suggests is a film, but it’s a film with a soundtrack and many of their products are released as audio versions.

Both these ministries come together in a website and app called which currently claim to have resources in 1800+ languages and dialects including audio Bibles and New Testaments in over 1200 languages. The numbers keep going up!

“Faith Comes By Hearing” is from Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (NIV)

Earlier in the same passage it states:

with an option to switch into any of the available languages.

In today’s digitally connected world it can be tempting to think that nobody actually needs to go anywhere. Surely we can spread the gospel just through social media?

“How beautiful are the tweets
of those who bring good news!”

Social media does indeed have a great role to play and a number of my colleagues have begun to see that making scripture available online doesn’t mean that people will find it, listen to it and respond. We’re beginning to do a lot more in terms of using social media to help people know when scripture is available in their language and discover that it is relevant to their lives.

Even with the help of technology the message still spreads from person to person. Not everyone who hears welcomes  the message but “how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”

Some people will hear via a social media share, or a post in local community group, others it will involve a short walk and a face to face conversation. Where can you let people know how to find audio Bibles and New Testaments in the languages spoken in your community?


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