From a Handful of Women to a Global Bible Study Movement

Share Article

Biblica Publishing title reveals how one woman’s vision launched Bible Study Fellowship.

News Image

True To His Word: The Story of Bible Study Fellowship, Biblica Publishing, $19.99, ISBN: 9781606570890, hardback

An invitation to teach a home Bible study would suddenly and irrevocably redirect Johnson's life journey.

When communists expelled Christian workers from China in 1950, British missionary Audrey Wetherell Johnson thought her many years of ministry had come to a complete end.

But God wasn’t through with her. On her way home to England, Johnson had a ‘chance’ meeting while in California to rest and visit churches, an invitation from a handful of women to teach a home Bible study that would suddenly and irrevocably redirect her life journey.

Johnson never made it back to England.

Her ability to teach in-depth study of God’s Word met a deep hunger in American evangelicals. A Bible study with a few women rapidly grew, and soon Johnson was recruiting other women to help lead her popular studies. She developed a four-fold Bible-study format that required personal study, group discussion, study notes, and challenging lectures.

From these early groups, Bible Study Fellowship(BSF) was founded. Fifty years later, BSF has approximately 200,000 men, women, and children involved in more than 1,000 study groups on six continents and 38 nations—even China.

In True to His Word: The Story of Bible Study Fellowship(Biblica Publishing, $19.99, ISBN: 9781606570890, hardback), authors Gregg and Deborah Shaw Lewis capture the clear movement of God through Bible Study Fellowship’s amazing growth. About 80 percent personal anecdotes and photos and 20 percent historical narrative, True to His Word gives readers an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how God used people of all ages and walks of life to reach and radically change lives throughout the world.

Some snapshots…a daughter reads to her semi-literate mother and helps her write answers to questions so she can participate in classes… a man visiting a BSF class at the request of his sister-in-law accepts Christ as his Savior…in 2008, the first high school senior graduates from the children’s division, having attended since age 2…in Paris, a Frenchwoman attending an English-language BSF study translates her lessons and notes into French so she can share them with neighbors…in Uganda, a 70-year-old class administrator rides to class sidesaddle on the back of a motorcycle taxi in a downpour, holding her umbrella over a box of lessons to keep them dry, while she herself is drenched…in 2009, after approval by the Chinese government, BSF begins translating materials into Chinese to conduct classes in mainland China.

With hundreds of stories highlighting God’s presence and powerful work through BSF, True to His Word gives a fascinating, inspiring look at a great Bible study movement that will appeal to past and present BSF attendees and to all who love God’s Word.

About Biblica
Celebrating more than 200 years in ministry, Biblica provides God’s Word to people through translation, publishing, and Bible engagement. Biblica’s ministry extends worldwide, with outreach in 55 countries. Biblica has translated the Bible in more than 100 languages and is the translation sponsor and ministry publisher of the New International Version® (NIV®) of the Bible, the most widely read and trusted contemporary English translation. Through its worldwide reach, Biblica engages people with God’s Word so lives are transformed through a relationship with Jesus Christ. For more information, visit


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Mike Dworak
Email >

Lynn Waalkes
Email >
Visit website