On Bible Translation.

December 18, 2007

The worldwide status of Bible translation:


…the number of languages spoken in the world today


…the number of languages without any of the Bible, but with a possible need of a Bible translation to begin


…the number of people who speak the 2,251 languages where translation projects have not yet begun


…the number of translation programs currently in progress for languages without adequate Scripture

nearly 80%

…amount of the world’s remaining Bible translation needs that are located in the three areas of greatest need


…the number of language communities which have access to the New Testament in their heart language


…the number of language communities which have access to the entire Bible in the language they understand best


…the population of the world

The areas of greatest need

Today, more than 2,200 language groups do not have a single verse of Scripture available in their languages. Nearly 80 percent of them are located in three areas of the world:

& Nigeria:


& Southeast


& the
Pacific Islands:


What makes these areas especially difficult? A number of factors challenge work, including:

  • Political and religious roadblocks
  • Security
  • Dense populations
  • Large quantity of languages per capita
  • Difficult access to language locations

(The above is from Wycliffe.Org)

. . .

One of my favorite reads is Neil Anderson’s In Search of the Source, the firsthand account of a Bible translator with his family in Papua New Guinea. Here’s an excerpt:

Still checking for clarity of translation, we [Neil & the Folopa men] read [from the latest draft of Genesis in the Folopa language] . . .

I looked up to see if the text was communicating. The men were silent, sitting cross-legged on the floor in their ruggedness, some shirtless, expressions dark, chests heaving. I saw one brush a tear from his eye.

I read on . . .

At that point we had reached the end of the page. Carol [Neil’s wife] was still typing the latest draft & we had caught up to her. For the moment there was no more to read &, as it was time for a break anyway, I went & busied myself with tea & bread for everybody.

But behind me all remained quiet – all but the typewriter. I looked back. There were the men gathered all around Carol, reading the words one at a time, as they came onto the page from the typewriter.

The tea & the bread could wait. They, apparently, had food I knew not of.

As Carol was typing out the translation draft for the next part of Genesis, the men were so hungry to know what God’s Word said next that they read the translation over her shoulder as she typed it out, word by word.

Really, what would life be like without knowing Christ, without knowing His Word (or even, without having any access to His Word)?


2 Responses to “On Bible Translation.”

  1. moonchoi Says:

    Thanks for posting this, Tia. It was so encouraging and rebuking at the same time. Especially in light of Christmas, it’s so good to be pointed back to His love. :’)

  2. jen Says:

    wow, what a great testimony.

    they’ve tasted that the Lord is good and are longing for the pure milk of the Word.

    thanks for sharing that!

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