American Bible Society

American Bible Society

The American Bible Society (ABS) is a group, founded in 1816, that publishes, distributes, and translates the Bible.

In 2000-2001, ABS distributed 4,113,106 Bibles and 8,322,112 copies of the New Testament. They are the translators of the Good News Bible (now officially known as the Good News Translation) and the Contemporary English Version.

ABS is headquartered in New York, where it also maintains an extensive archive of editions of the Bible, many of them rare or otherwise unusual.

The most recent President of ABS was Paul Irwin, who was confirmed by the board in 2006 and resigned in June 2008.


The American Bible Society celebrated a century of service to China in 1934. Vice President John R. Mott recalled that in 1833 the Society sent $3,000 to Dr. Elijah Coleman Bridgman, first U. S. Protestant missionary to China, to print scriptures in Chinese. As of 1934 the Society had spent $2,897,383 distributing nearly 70,000,000 volumes of Scripture in China.

Housed at its main headquarters in Manhattan, NY, is a museum of ancient and historic bibles dating back as far as the Gutenberg edition, of which, ABS has several pages under protection. The Bible library has editions of scripture in every language, from many counties and regions and spanning nearly six centuries and is the second largest collection of religious books with The Vatican being the largest. ABS often finds and protects found scriptures, sometimes even buying them at auction.

In its Bible repository in South America, there are hundreds of thousands of random versions and editions of Bibles that it has collected over the years.

Current events

In 1999, ABS launched its first major internet ministry,, a free church webbuilder. Since then, it has released many different ministry sites including (2006), which allows users to share stories of how the Bible has changed their life, and enables ABS employees to share their ABS mission experiences.

In 2006, ABS launched its first television series, ABS Presents, featuring Dr. Irwin who interviewed various Bible Scholars about current issues in society that relate to Christianity.

In December 2006, along with Larry Jones and his group Feed the Children, ABS participated in the "largest food distribution effort" in the U.S.. Over 10,000 bundles of food were handed out in one day (consisting of a case of chicken, juices, fruits and vegetable) in Harlem, outside the Abyssinian Baptist Church on 138th Street. ABS handed out Bibles to all of the food recipients

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