Marking a centenary

A replica edition of Lifewords’ 1914 Active Service gospel to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War

John’s Gospel - Marking a centenary
John’s Gospel - Marking a centenary


During World War 1, Lifewords (then called Scripture Gift Mission) gave out copies of John’s gospel to troops. A total of 42 million copies were printed, in response to demand.

In autumn 2013, Lifewords commissioned Sparks to create a replica edition – in the spirit of the original, but with a few considered changes.

The small khaki volume has rounded edges so that it doesn’t fray in a soldier’s pocket.

The main difference from the original is the insertion of eight pages of new content. This includes an explanation of the project, stories from those who received the originals, and artwork based on key texts.

Sparks commissioned the Henningham Family Press to create the artwork, which was reproduced as colour plates in the new edition.

600,000 copies have been printed to mark the anniversary.


“Sparks’ work has been consistently excellent, and we’ve always found them to be friendly, flexible, and professional.

Best of all is the creative thought that goes into their concepts and designs based on our original brief.

They have an ability to surprise us, push us further, and take our ideas to new places, and that’s why we keep coming back to them.”

Jeremy Williams , Programme developer, Lifewords

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