Equipping Heroes with God’s Word

Operation 500 is a Military Bible Challenge aiming to engage 500,000 hearts in God’s Word

This Memorial Day and every day, American Bible Society thanks God for the brave men and women who have laid down their lives for our freedoms. We also remember the Military families who have lost their loved ones in service to our nation. Our ability to live and worship freely and without fear comes at a high price, and we honor the memory of those who gave their lives to secure and defend this incredible blessing for each of us.

While we can never match the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans, we are committed to serving the Military community through our Armed Services Ministry. Since 1817, part of our mission has been to equip our Military with God’s Word.

Today, we accomplish this through targeted Bible distribution efforts and Bible-based resources contextualized for Military life and experiences. One of our newest resources is Operation 500, which aims to engage 500,000 Military members, Veterans, and their families in God’s Word for 75 days.

Our Military Members Face Unique Battles

The challenges of Military life go far beyond the battlefield. On average, Military members are 42% more likely than other Americans to have personally experienced a traumatic event. Veterans experience a suicide rate that is 1.5 times higher than the non-Veteran population, with 17 Veterans lost to suicide each day. Military families and children endure long absences of their loved ones, changing living situations, and a range of emotional uncertainties.

Those serving our nation endure difficulties that most Americans can’t begin to imagine—but God’s Word tells us that he understands. We believe that the Bible offers the strength and comfort Military members, Veterans, and their families need in every season of service.

The Military Community Needs God’s Word

When it comes to Bible shortages, the United States Military isn’t the first place you might look. But our State of the Bible research tells us that 80% of Military members did not have a Bible when they entered the Military. Through Bible distribution, the Armed Services Ministry is making sure that God’s Word is readily available to everyone serving our nation.

Owning a Bible is only half the challenge. Eighty-nine percent of Military members who receive a Bible keep it, but only three out of five say that they read it (13% read it a little, 19% read it occasionally, and 19% read it quite often). Roughly half of Military members want to learn more about topics like pain and suffering (51%), hopelessness (50%), and loneliness (48%). The Bible holds insights on these topics and more, and Operation 500 creates the structure and space to delve deeper into Scripture.

Operation 500 is Basic Training in the Bible

In order to complete this Military Bible Challenge, Military community members must spend 20 minutes in God’s Word each day for 75 days. This basic training in the Bible provides endurance for the challenges of Military life and leads to deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ. In addition, it creates a community of half a million Americans drawing strength from God’s Word.

Our research and our experience tell us that when people read the Bible consistently and seek to follow its direction, lives change. One member of the U.S. Air Force said: “I asked God to take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.”

The testimonies from other Military members who found new life in God’s Word tell the same story:

“Reading has taught me to treat others and myself with respect.”

“I stopped being a liar.”

“I started putting others before myself.”

“I’ve forgiven my attackers.”

If you or someone you know is part of the Military community, we invite you to join Operation 500 and discover the power of God’s Word in your own life. You can accept the Military Bible Challenge and explore other Armed Services Ministry resources at ArmedServicesMinistry.org.

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Elisabeth Trefsgar
Elisabeth Trefsgar

Elisabeth Trefsgar is a content specialist for American Bible Society. She has made a home in New Jersey and Sofia, Bulgaria, and is always on the lookout for the next adventure. She is passionate about seeing communities around the world flourish through the power of God's Word and the efforts of the local church. When she isn't writing, you can find her reading good stories, photographing local sights, and spending time with friends.

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