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2015 Bible Translation Statistics #3 December 2, 2015

Posted by P, J, or J in Bible Translation, Statistics, wycliffe.


The 2015 Bible Translation statistics are starting to be circulated. Former Wycliffe director Eddie Arthur blogged of the figures, “This is truly remarkable; a cause for celebration and thankfulness to God for making it all happen. It’s an immense privilege to be involved in this worldwide movement.”

I’d agree. Eddie goes on to say:

“I’ve just got a little niggling problem: to what extent can we say that people have access to God’s Word if they only have a book of Scripture or perhaps a New Testament …are we setting the bar too low? God gave us the whole Bible (including the difficult bits) for a reason, shouldn’t we be aiming to see it all translated into the languages of the world?”

Eddie has blogged on this previously, here and here with a valuable longer paper available here.

It’s a good niggle. Wycliffe’s new infographic spells it out “Having some scripture is not the end. Ongoing work is needed in thousands of languages.”

Eddie’s paper focuses on what bits of the Bible are important (all of them) rather than on which languages communities and agencies should focus on. (more on that in the infographic).

WordPress decided that readers of Eddies post would also like to see his post from 2009 when the number given for complete Bibles was 451 instead of the current 554. In the graphic above I’ve quoted numbers published for 2010. Caution should always be taken in comparing data from different years, and extreme caution taken in drawing graphs and making predictions about future progress, but one thing is clear – progress is being made and while not every project moves from portions to New Testaments to Bibles that certainly seems to be a trend.

Wycliffe has a vision for seeing translations started, and the start is just the beginning.

I’m privileged to have an ear to the ground as to what God is doing around the world in terms of Bible translation and a voice at the table in how some of us should talk about that. Here are a few challenges I flagged recently for when we talk about progress and remaining needs.

Definition of need – not as simple as “NT+ in 1887=no need”, “no scripture (in heritage language)=need”
Multilingualism – not as simple as “heart language” or nothing
Multiple dialects – not as simple as one product per language
Vision 2025 – to see translation begun where needed
Finished – There will be no more need for translation when languages stop changing, when each generation is the same as the last, when every one has all they need. Not ‘Christ won’t return until translation is done’ but ‘translation work won’t be done until Christ returns’



1. How to pray boldly - December 4, 2015

[…] Measurements and expanse are important to God. He once gave the prophet Ezekial a vision of the restored Temple with the express purpose of measuring and recording its every dimension (Ezekial 40-43). […]


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