40 up! Open Bible Trust look forward to next chapter

ByDave Hall

40 up! Open Bible Trust look forward to next chapter

The Open Bible Trust will hold a service of thanksgiving next week to celebrate 40 years in operation (2pm, Sat 13 July, St Stephen’s Church, Upper Basildon, Reading, RG8 8LS).

It was early in 1984 that eight friends, who had met on Christian holidays, shared their concern at the decline in bible study in churches – and lack of accessible resources.

Mike Penny of the Open Bible Trust

‘There were plenty of good daily reading notes and many excellent deeper commentaries, but there seemed few resources for that intermediate level,’ explained Michael Penny (above), one of the eight. The friends decided to do something about it and the Open Bible Trust was born. In April 1984 the first issue of Search magazine came out, to be followed two months later by the second edition, accompanied by a bible study booklet – a pattern which has continued for 40 years.

Penny was the trust’s first administrator and editor before moving to the USA in 1991 to pastor a church, where he set up a sister organisation to work with the OBT. He returned to the UK in 1999 and in 2007 took up the reigns of administrator and editor once again.

‘It has been a great 40 years,’ he said, ‘and we have so much to thank the Lord for. St Stephen’s is a lovely church set in the countryside of West Berkshire, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and there is plenty of parking. Everyone is welcome.’

Michael pointed out that, as well as publishing the bi-monthly magazine and booklets, there have also been extra booklets and books – so much so that the trust now has more than 400 publications, all available in print and as eBooks.

‘Thanks to companies like Amazon and Apple, these are available is many countries of the world,’ he added.

From bible studies on videos and then DVDs, OBT now produce material on YouTube, with more than 320 videos currently available. Studies once on cassettes and then CDs are now on the OBT podcast channel.

‘One of our best series is six podcasts on Exploring Ecclesiastes,’ said Penny. ‘An Old Testament book so relevant to the affluent 21st century!’

What of the next 40 years?

‘Only the Lord knows,’ said Penny. ‘I won’t be around for all of it!’

• The Open Bible Trust are on stand A21 at CRE 24

CRE 2024

Tickets for CRE 2024 are available now!

Organisations considering exhibiting at CRE 2024 should contact James Batterbee on 0161 250 2306 (E: james@creonline.co.uk). Click here for a brochurefloor plan and price list.

About the author

Dave Hall author