Wycliffe Bible Translators recently announced this exciting news, “Bible translated into its 700th language.” Executive Director James Poole said that means 5.7 billion people who speak 700 languages now have the Bible in the language that speaks to them.
While that number is a milestone, there’s much more to do. According to Wycliffe’s website, one in five people alive today are still waiting to get the Bible in their language. There are 7.6 billion people in the world living on seven continents and speaking 7,000 languages.
“At least 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible in their language — that’s more people than the entire continent of Africa! At least 2,000 languages still need a Bible translation started. Many are in areas hard to reach.
Wycliffe Bible Translators believes, “Every language matters because every person matters to God.” Wycliffe partners with many organizations around the world to see Bible translation completed.
“Bible translation is one of the most significant parts of world mission today.
“Wycliffe’s vision, in partnership with our supporters, is that everyone will have access to God’s word in the language that speaks to them best. The Bible changes lives – and so does the work of translating the Bible.”
Wycliffe is fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV)
What if you had no Bible to read? Here’s another perspective on that question. A minister friend, Joe McKeever, recently shared on Facebook a remarkable experience of a Southern Baptist minister.
“After the fall of Communism, SBC minister Ralph Bethea was handing out Bibles in Russia. In one home an old gentleman spoke of abandoning Communism and returning to the faith of his sainted mother. He had no Bible, so Ralph gave him one. He clutched it to his chest, then invited in his neighbors and read to them for four hours.
“One neighbor was a former KGB agent. Ralph led him to faith in Christ. When Ralph ran out of Bibles, the former KGB man said, ‘I know where there are 40,000 Bibles.’ The KGB had confiscated them over the years.
“Ralph worked with the man to find them, and then bought them at an auction for $1,000. Then, as everyone gathered around, Ralph opened the first box of Bibles and took out one. It had writing on it, so he handed it to the old man whom he’d first led to Christ. The gentleman took one look at it and began crying. This was his mother’s Bible, confiscated some 30 years earlier by the secret police.”
One of our treasured freedoms in America is the freedom of religion. Our Bibles cannot be confiscated by the government. I am thankful to own a dozen or more Bibles in various English translations. But, I confess that I sometimes take it for granted that others around the world do not have access to God’s Word. Let’s choose to set aside a few minutes each day to read our Bibles. Memorize your favorite verses, so they will come to mind if you find yourself without a Bible.
Jan White is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who lives in Andalusia. Her email address is email@example.com.