“During a time when prisons had shut down, and incarcerated men and women had to go without visitations or programming, there’s this sense of hopelessness in prisons,” Ackerman said.
Ackerman shared that there was an intense level of demand for the Gospel inside prisons, for the first time in Prison Fellowship’s 45-year history.
“God put on people’s hearts and encouraged chaplains to promote the Word of God,” he noted. “And [the fact] that hope of the Gospel found itself in such high demand is so encouraging to me.”
In response, Prison Fellowship managed to distribute 100,000 copies of The Life Recovery Bible, Tyndale’s bestselling recovery Bible, in nine months.
The Life Recovery Bible, which is under the New Living Translation, features unique devotional content based on the 12-step recovery model.
According to Tyndale’s website, “This Bible for addiction points to God himself as the primary source of recovery with essential tools and features that help free people from the grip of addiction.”
“Having a Bible that speaks to addiction recovery and needs was also a priority for us,” Ackerman said. “The Life Recovery Bible by Tyndale was the perfect fit for what we were exploring.”
Ackerman added that the Bible provides prisoners the opportunity “to start a life of new beginnings” with Jesus Christ.
“[The aim is for] people who have struggled with addiction and that addiction [led] to other unproductive activities in their life to realize that they can be healed of that addiction, that Jesus wants to heal them of that addiction and to allow them to start a life of new beginnings,” Ackerman said.
While many correctional facilities were concerned that the pandemic would agitate prisoners, the Prison Fellowship president noted that the opposite effect took place through these Bibles.
Ackerman explained that The Life Recovery Bible has helped inmates stay calm, strengthening the faith of those who were already believers and encouraging non-believers “to really sit down and crack open that Bible and read it.”
“It is creating an environment of calmness in the prison that the Department of Corrections feared might not be there,” he said.
“God provided us all we needed to meet the demand to supply those 100,000 Bibles. That, to me, it just shows you when the Lord is in something, He not only opens the door to create the demand, but He provides the resources needed to fulfill the expectation,” he asserted.
Over 3 million copies of The Life Recovery Bible have been printed. It is available in English and Spanish in large print.
Since partnering with Tyndale in 2018, Prison Fellowship has distributed over 162,000 Bibles to men and women in prison.