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The Emmaus Story

Emmaus Today

Emmaus could be the world's largest Bible school. It supplies more than 1.3 million courses a year in 85 languages. Printed courses are used in 88 countries and digital courses are accessed in 190.

All Emmaus courses are fully Bible-based and is operated by Christians from Open Brethren assemblies, but it serves people from many different backgrounds. Our Bible courses are available to everyone, for childrenteens and adults. There are courses for non-Christians, new Christians and experienced Christians. 

Emmaus Bible courses can be used for individual study or for group study and students receive a Certificate upon completion, acknowledging their achievement.

Charitable Status

Although some Emmaus Bible courses are sold through this website for a nominal price, most are given freely to people such as prisoners who can't afford to pay for them.  There are students in every prison in New Zealand.  

The work continues as the Lord provides through the giving of individual believers, assemblies, trusts and bequests.

Donations over $5 are tax deductible in New Zealand. The Emmaus Bible School is NZ Registered Charity CC10206.  Direct credits to BNZ 020428-0290205-00.  

Emmaus Mission Statement 

Emmaus Correspondence School exists to teach and disseminate the Word of God through external education in the form of correspondence Bible courses and other materials which are specially prepared to help persons both in New Zealand and overseas. 

The courses are designed to be evangelical, educational and edifying in nature and consistent with the Emmaus Statement of Belief

Emmaus History 


Since 1942 the Emmaus Correspondence School has provided Bible study courses to people around the world. 

The Correspondence School started a year after Dr. R. E. Harlow, John Smart and Earnest Tatham began an evening Bible School in Toronto, Canada.  There was a demand for systematic Bible teaching from students who were unable to attend the school and the three founders decided to develop the evening school lessons into correspondence courses. 

Notes from the evening school classes were copied and exams written to test the understanding of the student. By November 1942 there were 137 students enrolled in one of the three courses offered, Pedagogy (child training), Bible Doctrine, and New Testament Survey.  Seven years later, there were 1,250 active students.  A person could now gain a basic understanding of the Scriptures without having to give up a job or leave home. 


The paving of the Emmaus Road went beyond North America when in 1949 a missionary in the Philippines began using the courses as follow-up to a Gospel broadcast.  The response was immediate and many wanted to study the Bible. Other missionaries became interested in the possibilities of reaching those in remote area with Bible courses by mail. This launched the use of Emmaus Bible courses overseas.  Today Bible courses are available in over 80 languages from more than 1200 distribution centres. 


Emmaus correspondence Bible courses have been used in New Zealand since about 1953. Dr R E Harlow visited New Zealand in 1953 and introduced Emmaus Bible courses. Following his visit a local committee was formed and courses were promoted. A council of four men made plans to print the first two courses and proceed with others. Since that time the work has been led by several men, and the office located wherever the director might be living – Taupo, Auckland or Wellington. Many people have used Emmaus courses over the years – whether for personal benefit or in a small group Bible study – and have been helped through them. 


By 1956 the distribution of Bible courses had reached over 100,000.  In the late 1950s, the courses started to be used in the Cook County Jail.  The distribution of courses in prison grew slowly and became more organised. 


In 1963 the milestone of distributing over two million courses worldwide was reached. 


In 1971 the prison work became more concentrated and in 1974 the first Emmaus Prison Coordinators were appointed.  The work now includes all 50 US States and Canada and many other countries with over five million courses distributed to inmates. 


There are now over 70 Emmaus Bible courses available for study from Emmaus in New Zealand, and the courses are studied by inmates in every prison in New Zealand. 

To date over 20 million Emmaus courses have been distributed worldwide. 

Advantages of Home Bible Courses 

Distance Learning is not a new idea. The Apostle Paul used it when he wrote courses in the form of circular letters.  His respondents studied the “course” and communicated back to him in areas, which they did not understand.  Paul then wrote another course or letter to clear up the cloudy issues. 

Distance Learning education is a form of teaching that contains an organised course of self-study with a two-way communication between student and instructor over a distance.  It may be completed by mail, over the Internet, or even face–to-face. 

Emmaus Correspondence School has been helping students study the Bible by mail since 1942.  Leading educators recognise study by mail as an effective method of learning.  Students frequently achieve better results from home study than through classroom instruction.  It has been shown that students often experience a greater degree of retention of material studied through correspondence than through other means. 

A Bible correspondence course is not a substitute for the Word of God, but rather a helpful tool that leads the student, a step at a time, into some of the great truths of Scripture.  Through the examination technique, it seeks a response, enabling the student to express themselves and the instructor to evaluate the student’s needs and respond in turn with appropriate counsel or instruction. 

There are other advantages, too. Home study is convenient; the students arrange the study to suit their own schedule. Home study is inexpensive; there is no loss of earnings or expensive tuition and living costs that are associated with being a resident student. 

In addition, when the student enrols in an Emmaus Bible course, the student receives Biblically-sound Christ-centred study materials. The student is able to select from a wide range of courses from a constantly expanding curriculum to meet his current needs or interest. 

In summary, when a student enrols in an Emmaus course he or she receives much more than an ordinary tract, book or study guide can offer. Included in the enrolment are not only the services and counsel of a personal tutor, but a continuing interest in their spiritual growth and welfare. Come and join the millions who have benefited from the help of Emmaus Correspondence Courses in their personal study and ministry to others. 

Ten reasons to study with Emmaus  

  1. The courses are Biblically sound 

  2. They are instructional 

  3. They are systematic  

  4. They test for comprehension 

  5. The student receives personalised instruction 

  6. Flexible studying times  

  7. Over 70 printed courses to choose from and many online courses

  8. They are excellent teaching tools  

  9. They are inexpensive 

  10. The student receives Certificates for successful completion of courses 

Links to helpful sites

ECS Queensland Australia
Emmaus Correspondence School in Queensland, Australia.

ECS Worldwide
Detailed information about Emmaus worldwide.

Redemption Hymns
A superb new hymnal with over 700 songs chosen for their high biblical truth-content. 

Nearly 900 pages of very clear music. There is also an attractive and durable words only edition.  

Ideal for Bible-based churches and assemblies. Also used by many home groups, families and individuals.

Sing Again!
This little brother of Redemption Hymns has its own strengths!

Every singer has their own music!  Cheaper than most magazines!
Inexpensive, compact, combining words, music and Scripture in one handy volume. 


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