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Bible Translation milestones 1992-2022 August 17, 2022

Posted by Pete B in Statistics.
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Out of all the languages in which a full Bible or a New Testament has been translated nearly 60% have been published in the last 30 years.

It's not about numbers, picture of a lone sheep - the one percent focused on in Jesus' parable of the lost sheep, plus some counts of Bibles and New Testaments in 1992 & 2022
A Bible or New Testament is now available in 2,343 languages. In 1992 the total was 1020

This statistic is something I noticed as Jennifer and I prepared to preach at a church she first joined in 1992.

For me 1992 was my first real introduction to world mission,  a year acting on a tour with the Baptist Missionary society who were 200 years old. The tour was to celebrate mission, thank supporters and encourage a new generation – that I didn’t know I’d be part of. 230 years ago the full Bible existed in less than 40 languages yet until presented with new information many people thought that the gospel had gone to every country and mission was done.

By 1992 the full Bible had been translated into about 300 languages and the New Testament about 720.

2020 was a year many of us were overwhelmed with statistics about Covid pandemic, or when it struck closer to home focused our thoughts and prayers were focused on individuals and families not charts and numbers. Colleagues compiled a list of the phrase “wash your hands” in 635 languages, and helped produce other posters and health messages and for the first time the number of languages in which a full Bible exists, passed 700 out of over 7000 languages that are actually in use.

The latest figures for languages in which Bible translation has been happening is 724 languages with a full Bible, 1619 with a New Testament, 1241 with Selections or stories, and 928 with work started but nothing yet published.

But it’s not about counting products and projects

Each translation has its own story. Some take 10 years to complete, some 30, some longer …and the finished book is only part of the story. Bible translation isn’t about completed books, but about transformed lives.

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