Mission Spotlight: Wycliffe Bible Translators

logoThe Crossing supports Bible Translation through Wycliffe Bible Translators. We support two missionary couples, the Roths and Ferreiras, who work in different parts of Africa. Watch for future mission spotlights about each of these couples in coming months.

Why Bible Translation?partner_1426883107_500x302
The Bible is one of the oldest and most popular books of all time. But is it just a book, or is it much more?

[Wycliffe] believes that the Bible is God’s Word to us — something that everyone should be able to understand in the language they understand best. But almost 1,900 languages around the world are still waiting for a translation project to begin.

When people finally get the Bible in their own language, lives often change in amazing ways. People are transformed as they are led to Jesus Christ and a right relationship with God.

That’s why Wycliffe Bible Translators exists — to help these remaining languages get the Bible for themselves. And we won’t stop until all people have God’s Word in a language they understand.

The Worldwide Status of Bible Translation (as of 2014):

  • Cameroon-dvu_1446817095_500x281More than 1,300 languages have access to the New Testament and some portions of Scripture in their language.
  • More than 500 languages have the complete translated Bible.
  • Almost 7,000 languages are known to be in use today.
  • About 180 million people need Bible translation to begin in their language.
  • More than 2,300 languages across 131 countries have active translation and linguistic development work happening right now.
  • Currently, 1900 languages are still waiting for a Bible translation to begin.
  • Wycliff is committed to this vital translation work and is working faster than ever to reach those languages as soon as possible.

Where Wycliffe works:
Wycliffe partners with many organizations around the world to see Bible translation completed. Here’s a glimpse of what translation efforts might look like in different regions of the world:

As the world’s second-largest continent in size and population, Africa is home to one-seventh of the world’s people who speak 30 percent of the world’s total languages. More than 800 language groups in Africa still have translation needs — 700 in Nigeria and the French-speaking areas of central Africa alone. Overall, Africa has the second-greatest Bible translation need in the world, but local churches are quickly growing and joining in the vision of evangelism and discipleship in their own countries.

Almost 1,000 of the world’s languages are spoken around the Americas, which covers 11 different time zones. Bible translation needs are the lowest in the world, with more than 300 language projects already completed! Work is continuing in over 300 languages, while around 150 languages are waiting for translation to begin. Additionally, another 50+ languages (mostly in Brazil and other South American countries) still need to be surveyed to see if translation is needed.

Christians and mission organizations across Asia are working together to help reach the world with the message of God’s hope and love. In many South Asian countries, work that was started years ago by foreigners is now being handled by local citizens. Asia is quickly becoming a leading partner in advancing the work of the gospel around the world. With 520 languages that have no Scripture, Indonesia — the world’s fourth most populous nation — has more Bible translation needs than any other country.

Since around A.D. 50, when Paul first brought the Good News to the continent, the Bible has been translated into various languages across Europe. Translation work is currently in progress for many European sign languages, as well as for many displaced people groups that have immigrated to Europe across the centuries. These communities need to hear the gospel in the languages that speak directly to their hearts, and Scripture translation is key to reaching these people with God’s love.

The Pacific region includes thousands of islands within the world’s largest ocean. From the Australian desert, to the dense tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea, to the palm-lined coasts of Vanuatu, the Pacific is home to more than 1,300 languages (more than 20 percent of the world total). The Pacific islands represent the greatest remaining need for Bible translation in the world today, with Papua New Guinea alone including over 460 languages with no Scripture access at all.

History of Wycliffe:
Wycliffe Bible Translators was named for John Wycliffe, an early reformer in 14th Century England who advocated for translating the Bible into common language so that people might read it for themselves. His influential teachings were part of what ignited the reformation. Centuries later, In 1917, a missionary named William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles. But he was shocked when many people couldn’t understand the books. They spoke Cakchiquel, a language without a Bible. Townsend believed everyone should understand the Bible, so he started a small linguistics school that trained people to do Bible translation. The work continued to grow, and in 1942 he officially founded Wycliffe Bible Translators. In the last 75 years, Wycliffe has helped people around the world translate the Bible into their own languages. They also help with language development, literacy and other spiritual and physical needs.


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