The United States Senate requested that President Lyndon Johnson declare September 30, 1966 to be Bible Translation Day. Another Bible Translation Day was held in 1967 and the tradition has been carried on by Wycliffe Bible Translators. For more information about Bible Translation Day visit this page.
In keeping with the festivities, I will be reflecting on Bible translation today. My passion for Bible translation flows from the necessity and importance of the undertaking. My life has been transformed by God’s Word, and I want to do my part to help the Bible become available to every person in the world in their heart language, the language they know best. The organization at the forefront of the worldwide Bible translation effort is Wycliffe Bible Translators. Much of the information in this article comes from the Wycliffe website.
There are approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. Of those languages, approximately 1,800 do not have a Bible translation project started. Those languages represent 180 million people. Some of those speakers are Christians who are struggling to grow spiritually without the opportunity to read God’s Word in their own language. Many others do not yet have any knowledge of Jesus Christ.
With each passing day, people around the world die without having had the opportunity to hear God’s plan of salvation in their own language. The staggering need for Bible translation has prompted Wycliffe to adopt Vision 2025. Vision 2025 is a plan to see Bible translation begun in every language that still needs it by the year 2025. Wycliffe is seeking to accomplish Vision 2025 through their Last Languages Campaign. The Last Languages Campaign seeks to raise the funds that are needed for this thrust to complete the worldwide Bible translation effort.
Of the approximately 7,000 languages in the world today, approximately 550 have access to the entire Bible. That means that only about 13% of the world’s languages have the entire Bible. 1,300 languages have the entire New Testament. I am prompted to reflect on Revelation 5:9, which says “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (ESV, emphasis mine). Since Jesus died for every tribe, language, people, and nation, we should seek to give them the opportunity to hear about Him. Sharing God’s Word with the world is both a staggering responsibility and an incredible privilege.
A number of other organizations that are committed to Bible translation: