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'Extraordinary Growth' in Bible Translation

Tuesday October 4 2023

Two Bashkir women at the launch of the Bashkir Bible in Russia on June 19 2023

In the past year, one newly translated Bible was launched every month, and the New Testament became available in a new language once a week, according to a report by Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Hailing a ‘year of extraordinary growth’, Wycliffe says that 55 million people – about the population of England – can now read the Bible in their own language for the first time. A further 26 million people now have the New Testament in their language for the first time.

The report also states that a ‘tipping point’ has been reached, where for the first time in history there are more languages where there is work on a Bible translation in progress, than there are without.

James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe, says: “We are seeing something extraordinary in world mission, as we see this rapid acceleration of Bible translation. Today, more than ever before, more people can access the Bible in the language that speaks to them best.”

Wycliffe says that an increasing number of Bible translators working worldwide, Western Christians giving and praying more towards translation, and local churches increasingly starting their own translation programmes are all driving the acceleration in Bible translation. It also says that the advent of artificial intelligence is going to speed up the process further.

James added: “It is amazing to see the progress that has been made again this year. If progress continues to accelerate, then in the next 10–15 years we could find ourselves in the position where 95% of the world’s population has the full Bible in their language, and everybody can access at least a portion of Scripture. That would be a tremendous moment in world history!

­“Even with this progress, however, today still one in five people do not have access to the Bible in their language. It’s why translation teams worldwide continue to work with urgency. It’s also why we continue to support them in their work so that God’s word will be available to all people in their own language.”

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