The Bible: The World’s Most Shoplifted Book?

The Bible: The World’s Most Shoplifted Book?
Some claim that the Bible is the world’s most shoplifted book. Though Bibles are not free, God’s truth is always available for free. Where can you find it?

Did you know that the Bible is one of the most shoplifted books of all time? Though it is difficult to track the statistics, some bookstore owners claim that the Bible is the most shoplifted book on their shelves!

It is clearly the most translated and printed book of all time. But shoplifted? It is ironic that the book that declares “thou shalt not steal” is apparently often stolen!

Why stolen?

Why would a book that contains high standards of morality be desired by a person who practices thievery?

There are a number of reasons hypothesized to explain why people often steal the Book:

  • People feel that the Bible should be free—so they just take it.
  • A high-quality Bible can be an expensive purchase.
  • In the frenzy of shopping for the holidays, people steal for gifts.
  • Some steal Bibles to later sell them on the Internet or streets.

Whatever the reasons people have for stealing copies of the Bible, it still breaks the Eighth Commandment.

The cultural attack against the Bible

But the Bible isn’t just being stolen from bookstores!

The Bible is also being removed, legally unfortunately, from many places it used to freely occupy.

It used to be a given that a Gideon Bible would be located in just about any hotel room you rented—all around the globe. But that has been challenged.

After a complaint, the U.S. Air Force removed the requirement that Bibles be found in military lodgings. The argument was that U.S. government military facilities should be neutral toward religion rather than provide a special privilege for Christianity.

Some hotel chains and university campuses are removing Bibles.

A famine of the Word?

The prophet Amos wrote of a time when there would be “a famine … of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11).

The Bible is also being removed, legally unfortunately, from many places it used to freely occupy.Is the Bible being respected and faithfully taught in our culture today? Or is it being removed from everyday life—both literally and figuratively? Could it be that the Bible is being shoplifted from more than bookstore shelves? Has it been stolen from its proper place in our lives by forces that hate it and its message?

Though faithful teaching of the message of the Bible is rare today—yes, even from Christian churches!—the pure, undiluted message of the Bible is still available. It has not been totally stolen yet.

In fact, that is why this website exists. and Discern Magazine exist to ensure that the Bible and its undiluted truths continue to be available freely to everyone. We encourage you to not let the Bible be stolen from your life.

Biblical resources

Here are some resources we encourage you to check out to ensure the Bible and the truths it contains are not shoplifted from your life:

  • The Practical and Priceless Benefits of Bible Study. This page includes links to many practical articles that will give you tools to help you make full use of the Bible.
  • Daily Bible Verse Blog. Subscribing to and reading this daily blog is a good start at including Bible study as a daily part of your life. The series is currently covering the book of Genesis.
  • Insights Into Life, Hope & Truth. Subscribe to and read our blogs that are published regularly. They are relevant, easy-to-read and make the Bible a practical guide to your life and to understanding the world around us.
  • Have a Bible Question? If you can’t find the answer on our website, send it to us and our staff will try to answer it as soon as we can.

About the Author

Graemme Marshall

Graemme Marshall was a church pastor for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, before his death in 2015.


Discern is published every two months and is available in digital and print versions. Choose your preferred format to start your subscription.

Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe


Please choose your region:


Discern Article Series

Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
Christianity in Progress
Wonders of God's Creation
Ask a Question