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Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: the Bible Barrow

Looking Back

Friday July 30 2021

Looking Back: The Bible Barrow

From July 1936, how Church of Scotland missionaries in India found an unorthodox way to distribute Bibles.



A New Aid to Evangelism


THERE is no more picturesque scene in Nagpur than the orange market. One day a new and strange vehicle came to take up its stand there and drew the curious crowds away from the piles of golden fruit. This was our “Bible Barrow.”

Its wares were a better bargain than the oranges, for the latter cost fourpence a dozen, whereas you can buy the book of the Eternal Gospel in any of seven languages for one farthing.

In all mission work one great task is the distribution of Christian literature among the non-Christians. Mission institutions only reach a fringe of the population. There are, of course, “colporteurs” and others who do splendid work in selling and distributing the Scriptures, but they cannot cope with the whole field.

A few months ago, a new experiment was tried in Nagpur. A generous lady caused the “Bible Barrow” to be built at her expense. It was designed by her and one other, and is at present loaned to the Church of Scotland. A Christian lad, previously unemployed, earns a small salary now by pushing the “barrow” through the streets to the bazaars, markets or chief residential quarters of the city.

The sales are done by voluntary workers, missionaries, and college professors and their wives. Christian students, and boys and girls, all lend a hand from time to time, and find it a really worth-while job to try and woo people from the wares of the market to buy portions of ”the world’s best seller.”

All testify to the courtesy with which they have been received. Often they have been thrilled by their experiences. Against that they sometimes meet with indifference, and there are barren days.

In addition to the Bible, in English, or in several of the Indian languages, other Christian literature is sometimes sold, e.g. The Pilgrim’s Progress in translation, Lives of the Saints, etc.

Surely the “Bible Barrow” is helping to ensure that among all the new forces striving for supremacy in India, Truth as revealed in the Bible will not be least.

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