Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI) was founded in 2003 and began as a simple way of distributing recorded teachings taken from the Bible studies of Stephen Armstrong, a Sunday school teacher and internet preacher. As Stephen taught the Bible in churches, homes and neighborhood clubhouses around San Antonio, attendance and interest grew, both in his teaching and the ministry website. Soon, other men and women with a similar love for God's Word joined in the work of the ministry, and Verse By Verse Ministry began to take shape.
By 2005, the ministry began to receive requests from churches around the country to hear Stephen teach, and the online audience began requesting more content than the existing website could accommodate. With the help of a website developer, Stephen began work on a new version of the website, and by Fall 2005 the first major update to the VBVMI website launched. Almost immediately, the site experienced a surge in traffic and a regular pattern of donations.
The need to accommodate this rise in financial giving to the ministry led to the establishment of a formal non-profit organization called Verse By Verse Ministry of San Antonio and the appointment of a Board of Directors to provide oversight and accountability. Over the next several years the ministry grew steadily by God's grace. In 2008, the ministry began producing written studies, and by 2009 the ministry website was receiving over 1 million hits and distributing nearly 50,000 Bible lessons each month.
To accommodate the traffic and interest, the ministry designed and launched a new website in July 2009 - a major undertaking that contributed to an accelerated expansion of VBVMI's growth and reach to Bible students around the world. After 18 months in service, the site delivered nearly 600,000 hours of Bible teaching worldwide and logged over 1 million visitors annually.
In January 2011, the ministry launched a third-generation website to better serve our growing audience. The new site incorporated better navigation and a topical index. Also, it was deployed on a new, robust database infrastructure to handle substantial increases in traffic and to offer more kinds of content.
In the three years that followed, the ministry began a period of sustained and dramatic growth, doubling in audience every 6-8 months. By the end of January 2013, the website was taking over 2.5 million hits and distributing over 150,000 audio lessons per month. The ministry's growing international audience prompted the Board to change the ministry's name to Verse By Verse Ministry International to reflect its worldwide reach. Also at that time the ministry launched its first smartphone app and a ministry Facebook page, which further increased growth.
This continuing growth soon put new strains on the ministry website, leading to another redesign and a new database architecture. In 2014, VBVMI launched the new edition of our website hoping to stay ahead of the growing demand while providing a much-improved experience. In addition to improved navigation and visual appeal, the site added more powerful search capabilities, a video section and a much-improved webpage audio player. Around that same time, the Board also approved an expansion of services to include a Bible conference held in October each year in San Antonio, Texas. A year later the ministry also began producing small group curriculum and short video series to augment its growing library of verse-by-verse Bible teaching.
Once more in 2017 it came time to build another website to supply our daily traffic and improve the online user experience. This major undertaking involved a complete redesign of our site and the introduction of new capabilities. Launching in early 2018, the new website added numerous improvements, including arranging key study material thematically under "Topics," which made it even easier for our students to dive into the meat of God's word.
VBVMI continues expanding with live events held the world over for students, pastors, teachers and others who desire to minister according to and through God's Word. The ministry is actively teaching in North America, Europe, Africa, Central America, and Asia.
In the Spring of 2021, Verse By Verse Ministry International will begin offering its Bible teaching in Mandarin, Spanish and Indonesian, with additional languages to follow.
We also continue to add volunteers and select paid staff and Bible teachers to assist in the development and presentation of new curriculum and written study materials. Though the ministry is growing and adapting to meet many needs, the primary goal of the ministry remains unchanged: to teach God's Word clearly and boldly until all 66 books of the Bible have been proclaimed verse-by-verse and made available online for free.
Stephen Armstrong was the founder and principal teacher of Verse By Verse Ministry International. He came to know the Lord in his early 30s, while serving as an Air Force officer. After becoming a believer, Stephen experienced God's call to learn and teach the Bible, so in 1997 Stephen left the military, found a job in Colorado, and began a self-directed course of study in preparation to teach the scriptures.
As he devoted himself to study, Stephen developed a love for an in-depth, verse-by-verse style of teaching God's Word, believing it to be the best means to persuade the unbeliever of the truth of the Gospel and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Rom 10:17; Eph 4:14-15).
In 2001, Stephen received God's call to move to San Antonio, Texas, where he soon found opportunities to teach and preach verse-by-verse in churches throughout the area. Despite having no professional religious training, in 2003 Stephen was called by God to lead a church planting effort in the city as pastor of Living Word Fellowship.
That same year he also founded Verse By Verse Ministry of San Antonio (later to be renamed Verse By Verse Ministry International) out of a desire to offer his unique style of in-depth Bible teaching for free to a worldwide audience via the internet. Today, VBVMI's worldwide reach and our growing catalog of insightful Bible teaching is proof that Lord calls unqualified men but won't leave them untrained.
Stephen passed away in January 2021 leaving behind a library of insightful Bible teaching and a ministry team committed to advancing the Gospel worldwide.