Lifewords Celebrates Distribution of Over a Million Copies of Replica WW1 John’s Gospel

Lifewords, a leading publisher of Christian resources, has distributed over a million copies of their celebrated Active Service John’s Gospel replica edition.

Lifewords released a replica of their Active Service John’s Gospel to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War in 2014. Since then, more than 1 million copies have been distributed across the UK, Australia and the world.

Originally known as the Scripture Gift Mission, Lifewords played a crucial role in resourcing soldiers with Bible resources during WW1. Between 1914 and 1918, 43 million items of scripture, including over 22 million Gospel booklets, were printed in a range of languages and distributed by partner organisations, nurses and chaplains among the armed forces, refugees, prisoners and civilians.

The 2014 replica, produced in collaboration with Hope TogetherNaval & Military Bible Society and Biblica incorporated stories drawn from letters received during WW1 whilst preserving key characteristics of the original. The initial Active Service John’s Gospels were designed to be carried in the pocket of a uniform, the edges rounded to prevent creasing. The replica also features a handwritten message from Lord Roberts, Commander in Chief of the British Forces in 1914, as well as hymns that were originally included to enable chaplains to hold services in the field.

Army Scripture Reader Gavin Dickson of the Soldiers’ and Aviators’ Scripture Readers Association shared:

As I minister to soldiers, Lifewords materials, be it the Active Service John’s Gospel or another resource, are extremely useful and something that I can give out with confidence that they will be read.

This message continues to speak to those in the armed forces today. Just as in 1914, many sailors, soldiers and airmen found peace when they were afraid, strength when they were under pressure, and comfort even in the face of death, so is the same hope shared through these little books today.

The profound impact that these resources had on soldiers during the First World War is reflected in the ongoing effect of this Lifewords’ Centenary project. One present day soldier, reflecting on his experience of the replica edition, remarked, “I picked up one of these when I was at a church service as a young lad. Through cadets I always had one of these on me, and now I always carry one as a soldier. In times of great turmoil, this is always a source of comfort to me.”

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