When was the first Bible made available to Colombia?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The First Bible to Colombia

The introduction of the Bible to Colombia, like many other countries in Latin America, is deeply intertwined with the history of colonialism, Christian missionary efforts, and the spread of Christianity during the early modern period. Understanding the timeline of the Bible’s availability in Colombia requires examining the broader historical context of Spanish colonization, Catholic missionary activities, and subsequent Protestant missionary endeavors. While it is challenging to pinpoint the exact moment when the first Bible became available in Colombia, we can trace the gradual dissemination of Scripture through various historical events and movements.

Early Colonial Period and Catholic Dominance

During the early colonial period in Colombia, which began with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Catholicism was established as the dominant religion by the Spanish Crown. Catholic missionaries played a central role in the colonization process, spreading Christianity among indigenous populations and converting them to the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church maintained a monopoly over religious activities and the dissemination of religious texts, including the Bible, which was primarily available in Latin and accessible only to clergy and educated elites.

Spanish Inquisition and Censorship

The Spanish Inquisition, established in the late 15th century, exerted significant control over religious expression and the circulation of the Bible and religious texts in the Spanish Empire, including Colombia. The Inquisition sought to combat heresy and enforce religious orthodoxy, often through censorship and persecution of non-Catholic beliefs. As a result, the distribution of Bibles and other non-Catholic religious texts was prohibited, and those found in possession of such materials faced severe consequences, including imprisonment, confiscation of property, and even execution.

Protestant Missions and Bible Translation

The availability of Bibles in Colombia began to increase significantly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, coinciding with Protestant missionary activities and efforts to translate the Bible into Spanish and indigenous languages. Protestant denominations, such as the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, established missions and seminaries in Colombia to evangelize and disciple believers. These missions played a crucial role in translating and distributing Bibles, as well as promoting literacy and education among the local population.

Printing Press and Mass Production

The invention of the printing press in the 15th century revolutionized the production and dissemination of books, including the Bible. With the advent of printing technology, Bibles could be mass-produced more efficiently and affordably, making them accessible to a broader audience. In Colombia, the establishment of printing presses and publishing houses facilitated the distribution of Bibles and other religious literature, further contributing to the spread of Christianity and the growth of Protestantism in the country.

Modern Era and Religious Pluralism

In the modern era, Colombia has become increasingly diverse in terms of religious beliefs and practices, reflecting the influence of globalization, migration, and religious pluralism. While Catholicism remains the predominant religion in Colombia, Protestantism has experienced significant growth, particularly among urban populations and indigenous communities. The availability of Bibles in various translations and formats, including digital and audio versions, has expanded, enabling Colombians of all backgrounds to access the Scriptures more easily.


In conclusion, the availability of the Bible in Colombia has evolved over time, from its introduction during the colonial period to its widespread distribution in the modern era. While Catholicism initially dominated religious life and discourse in Colombia, Protestant missionary activities and advancements in printing technology have contributed greatly to the increased accessibility of the Bible to Colombians of all backgrounds. Today, the Bible continues to play a central role in shaping religious beliefs, values, and practices in Colombia, serving as a source of inspiration, guidance, and spiritual nourishment for millions of believers across the country.


  1. Bushnell, David I. The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself. University of California Press, 1993.
  2. Chapman, Charles E. A History of Colombia. University of California Press, 2018.
  3. González, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: Volume 2 – The Reformation to the Present Day. HarperOne, 2010.
  4. Lynch, John. New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America. Yale University Press, 2012.
  5. Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, and Revenge. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Leave a Comment