Eradicating Bible Poverty
Rev. John Stott said, “Without the Bible, world evangelization would not only be impossible, but actually inconceivable.” There are 6,860 known languages on earth. As of September, 2010, there are:
2,565 (37.4%) languages
with the Scripture (a full Bible, NT or some portion) available.
2,217 (32.3%) languages
with an active translation program in process.
2,078 (30.3%) languages
with no translation program yet launched.
This means that there are about 340 million people who do not have any passage of Scripture in their mother tongue. At the turn of the century, the Wycliffe Global Alliance estimated that it would be the year 2150 before the translation of the last language on earth would begin. This assessment seemed unacceptable to them. They refused to accept that some Bibleless peoples would have to wait another 150 years before hearing one word of Scripture in their heart language.
So, they committed to work differently and with a renewed sense of urgency, so that “by the year 2025 a Bible translation project will be in progress for every people group that needs it.” As a result, a release of new technologies, new approaches and a new spirit of collaboration among mission organizations has led to a remarkable acceleration of the process of getting the Bible into the hands of every person on earth in their own language. For example, although it took 9 years for The Seed Company to launch its first 200 Bible translation projects, it only took 5 years for the next 200 to get underway. Then, in the past 4 years, they began translation work in yet another 300 languages! The pace of progress is picking up great speed! The Great Commission implications are extraordinary. We are living in the generation that will likely see everyone on earth – for the first time in history – able to read or hear God’s Word in their own mother tongue! What a privilege it is to be alive today and collaborate with God in these extraordinary days!
But it is not enough to only translate God’s Word. Once translated, it must be published, distributed and used. There is a full continuum of activities that are necessary to result in the dream of eradicating Bible poverty. Many are working together to get the translated Word distributed. The remarkable service of Faith Comes by Hearing and You Version are examples of ministries using cutting-edge technologies to make the Scriptures freely accessible to many. Great good has come from the global showings of The Jesus Film, which, as of October 25, 2011, was available in 1,121 languages!
The ultimate goal is that people will read or listen to the Bible and thus engage with it in a life-transforming way. Research by the Center for Bible Engagement shows that there are “large behavioral differences between Christians who read or listen to the Bible at least four days a week and those who engage with scripture less often. These differences include both moral behavior as well as how prepared the individual is to serve God and impact the world.”
Increased Bible engagement not only changes individuals, it impacts society, as documented by Loren Cunningham in The Book that Transforms Nations – The Power of the Bible to Change Any Country. It is time to trust God for a great resurgence in Bible readership and reflection in nations all around the world!
For further discovery check out these web sites regarding Bible translation: www.theseedcompany.org; www.wycliffe.org; and www.wycliffe.net. Regarding Bible distribution and engagement go to: www.bftw.org; www.jesusfilm.org; www.scripture-engagement.org; www.faithcomesbyhearing.com; www.walkthru.org; www.youversion.com; and www.backtothebible.org. For some great videos on eradicating Bible poverty go to http://conversation.lausanne.org and follow the links to the videos on "Scripture in Mission."
from the 777 Document, July 2012