A Winnipeg school division has moved to phase out the distribution of the Gideon Bible to Grade 5 students.

The Pembina Trails School Division said interest in the book has steadily declined, along with requests for copies.

"The number we received was 29 out of a possible 1,000 or 1,100 students," said Dianne Zuk, of the Pembina Trails School Board.

The Gideons are a group of Christian businessmen who try to spread the knowledge of Christianity.

James Christie teaches theology at the University of Winnipeg and said children should study the Bible in the context of a worshipping community rather than a school.

"Of course the complexion of Canada has changed dramatically religiously and in every other way," said Christie. "Possession of a Bible, at least a New Testament, would hardly be the same certificate of membership it was when I was a child, for example."

The River East Transcona School Division is now the only division in Winnipeg still distributing the religious book.