Can You Own A Bible In North Korea


North Korea is well known for its restrictive government policies, lack of freedom of religion and human rights violations. The state is essentially an authoritarian dictatorship, with a limited number of human rights and freedoms. There are officially state-sanctioned religions and it is illegal to practice any other belief system. The North Korean regime has been known to be especially hostile to Christianity, most specifically the Catholic church. The nation’s constitution states that North Koreans “have the right to freedom of belief, but this right is not recognized in practice”. As a result, owning a Bible is not permitted in North Korea.

Punishments for Owning a Bible

Under the regime of Kim Jung-un, owning any religious material, including a Bible, is strictly prohibited. Those caught with religious material or attending any kind of religious activity can expect to face serious punishment from the authorities. The punishments vary depending on the severity of the crime, but can range from fines or imprisonment to torture or even execution. According to some sources, anyone caught with a Bible in North Korea will face the most severe punishments and can expect to be convicted and sentenced to several years in a labor camp.

Limited Religious Freedom

The North Korean government keeps tight control over its people and religious freedom is severely restricted. According to Human Rights Watch, North Korea officially recognizes just two religious organizations: the Korean Christian Federation and the Korean Buddhist Federation. Since North Koreans are not allowed to practice any other beliefs, they are prohibited from owning a Bible or any other religious materials. Although North Korea’s constitution legally protects religious freedom, in reality it is rarely enforced, and owning a Bible is largely seen as a crime.

Distribution of Bibles in North Korea

In spite of the severe restrictions, some organizations are still trying to get Bibles into the country. One of the main organizations distributing Bibles in North Korea is Open Doors, an organization dedicated to providing resources and aid to persecuted Christians. Open Doors also provides aid to North Korean refugees and other persecuted people in other parts of the world.
The organization does not distribute Bibles directly in North Korea, but rather distributes the book through underground channels. This is done in secret to avoid detection, and the organization continues to work hard to get the Bible into the country by any means necessary, including smuggling them in or distributing them through North Korean refugees.

Occurrences of Bible Ownership

There have been some reports of North Koreans owning a Bible and being able to practice their faith in secrecy. According to some sources, there has been an increase in the number of North Koreans who are able to own and read a Bible in the past few years. This is largely due to the efforts of organizations such as Open Doors and other charities who are working to get Bibles and other religious material into the country.
Although it is difficult to determine exactly how many North Koreans own a Bible, most experts agree that the number is very small. As the restrictions in North Korea remain extremely tight, it is unlikely that owning a Bible will become more widespread in the near future.

North Korean Exiles

Since it is illegal to own a Bible in North Korea, the only way for most North Koreans to access the book is to flee the country. North Korean refugees are estimated to number in the millions, and many of these refugees are Christians who have been able to gain access to a Bible once they have left North Korea. For these exiles, having a Bible can be a source of much needed comfort and support in their new life.

International Aid

In recent years, international aid organizations have been actively trying to provide aid to North Korea, including providing aid to refugees. These organizations are hoping to provide hope and support for oppressed North Koreans, including those who are persecuted for practicing their faith.
Organizations such as Open Doors and other Christian aid groups are working to provide Bibles, Christian literature and other aid to North Koreans through underground channels. The goal of these organizations is to spread the word of God and provide hope and support to those who are suffering under the repressive North Korean regime.

North Korean Countermeasures

In response to the increasing number of North Korean refugees and the growing presence of international aid organizations, the North Korean government has cracked down on religious freedom and tightened restrictions on citizens. This includes installing surveillance systems, conducting searches and seizing religious material.
The North Korean regime has also cracked down on Christian activities, such as church meetings and gatherings, as well as religious books and material. This includes Bibles, as the North Korean government views any religious material as a threat to its authority. Because of these measures, it is even more difficult for North Koreans to own a Bible or practice their faith in any way.

The Cost of Owning a Bible

Owning a Bible in North Korea comes with many risks. Those caught with the Bible can expect to face severe punishment from the authorities. And since the North Korean government is monitoring its people more closely than ever, it is becoming increasingly difficult for North Koreans to own and practice their faith in any way.
For those brave enough to take the risk and own a Bible, the cost can be great. Punishments for owning a Bible can range from fines and imprisonment to torture or even execution. The situation in North Korea is dire, and owning a Bible can be a costly decision with potentially dire consequences.

North Korean Christians

Despite the immense danger and persecution that North Korean Christians face, they continue to practice their faith in secret. Many of them are willing to risk their lives for their beliefs and continue to own a Bible and practice their faith in any way that they can.
These brave individuals are evidence of the strength and resilience of the human spirit. They provide hope that, despite all of the suffering and persecution in North Korea, there is a light of faith and hope that continues to shine in the darkness.

The Role of North Korean Exiles

North Korean exiles who have left the country have an incredibly important role to play in helping North Koreans. These exiles have the unique opportunity to provide aid, love and support to their fellow North Koreans. They can serve as a bridge between North Koreans and the outside world, providing much needed resources and support.
Exiles can also provide a unique perspective on the situation in North Korea and can spread awareness about the plight of their fellow North Koreans. Through their stories and experiences, they can help to bring the plight of persecuted North Koreans to the attention of the international community.


Owning a Bible in North Korea is extremely dangerous, and those caught doing so can face severe punishment from the authorities. However, despite the danger, there are still a small number of brave individuals who are willing to take the risk and own a Bible and practice their faith as best they can.
Furthermore, there are international organizations and North Korean exiles working hard to provide aid, resources and support to those in need. These people continue to fight for religious freedom, despite the great danger they are in. Through their tremendous efforts, they are providing much needed hope and support to those suffering in North Korea.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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