When people think of Oklahoma City, they may picture tornados, Thunder basketball, or the oil and gas industry. But something of far greater significance is coming out of the city. People in every part of the world are impacted every day with something that transcends language, race, location and spans thousands of years of history — the Bible.
It’s no exaggeration to say the world’s leading Bible initiatives to make their way on the global scene in the past 10 years have come from Oklahoma City. Three organizations, started by leaders with a similar passion for the Bible, are working to change the way our world engages with this book. Together, they are turning the tide of Bible engagement worldwide.
The three projects are YouVersion, Every Tribe Every Nation and Museum of the Bible.
After nearly a decade of annual decline in Bible engagement, the tide may be turning. Encouraging news comes from the latest research in the “State of the Bible in America” provided by the American Bible Society and Barna research. For the first time since the survey began, Bible engagement and friendliness has gone up slightly, while Bible neutrality and skepticism has gone down. According to the team from Look Inside, after reviewing the results of this recent study, these three Oklahoma-based organizations may have something to do with the change.
YouVersion started when Bobby Gruenewald had a vision to see the Bible accessed online. In 2008, when Apple announced the launch of the App store, Gruenewald knew the Bible needed to be among the first Apps. Without ever having used an App before, he successfully launched YouVersion in the batch of the first 200 Apps in the world on July 10, 2008. Today, the App has over 270 million downloads.
Every Tribe Every Nation began in 2010 when Mart Green, who has a passion for everyone to have the Bible in their “heart” language, decided he could use his connections and resources to bring about greater good for Bible translations. The vision was to see all the Bible translators and donors working together to help finish the remaining 2,000 languages that still don’t have a Bible translation. Uniting Bible agencies like American Bible Society, Biblica, The Seed Company and Wycliffe has accelerated the goal of making the Bible available in every language by 2033.
Museum of the Bible was founded in 2010 by Steve Green. Today, Museum of the Bible is only months away from opening the doors of a museum in Washington, D.C. As one of the most technologically advanced museums in the world, this 430,000-square-foot museum will house some of the world’s most significant biblical artifacts in the world. The museum invites all people to engage in the Bible through scholarly endeavors and museum exhibits that share the history, impact and narrative of the Bible.
These three dynamic organizations, birthed in Oklahoma City, are worth watching as they continue in their mission to further Bible engagement. As fellow Oklahoman Carrie Underwood might say, “There must’ve been something in the water.”
McAfee, of Oklahoma City, is corporate ambassador for Hobby Lobby, and a Ph.D. student at Southern Seminary studying ethics and public policy.