There are about 7000 languages in the world and at present only 554 of them have the complete Bible!
There are another 1333 languages that have the New Testament and approximately 1054 that have some of the Bible published in their language.
Our goal is that by the year 2025 all the remaining languages will have at least been started.
Increasing momentum of Bible Translation movement
In 1999 Wycliffe realised that it was going to take another 150 years to complete the task of Bible translation in the 3,000 languages still needing the Scriptures at that time. That would have meant some people groups having to wait until 2150 before a translation was even started in their language!
The International Conference of Wycliffe that met in June 1999 did not consider that as acceptable. To address this, the following resolution, dubbed Vision 2025, was adopted – “Motivated by the pressing need for all peoples to have access to the Word of God in a language that speaks to their hearts, and reaffirming our historic values and our trust in God to accomplish the impossible, we embrace the vision that by the year 2025 a Bible translation project will be in progress for every people group that needs it.“
We acknowledge that this cannot be accomplished simply by our working harder or doing more of what we are now doing. It will require us to make significant changes in our attitudes and ways of working.
Our desire is to build capacity for sustainable Bible translation programmes and Scripture-use activities. Therefore, we urge each entity within our family of organisations to give priority to strengthening present partnerships, forming additional strategic partnerships, and working together to develop creative approaches appropriate to each context.
To this end we commit ourselves to pray for the fulfilment of this vision, seeking God’s guidance and obeying Him in whatever new directions He may lead.”
What has this meant in practice?
- Working in close partnership with churches, missions and other agencies.
- Transferring the vision for the importance of vernacular Scriptures, to local and national communities.
- Building the capacity to carry out sustainable language programmes in churches and language communities worldwide.
- Focussing on training and mentoring.
- Enabling local and national leadership of language programmes.
- A sense of urgency in all we do – all people having access to the Word of God in their language much sooner than our current rates of production project.
What do language programmes now look like?
- Already language projects take a number of different approaches and this diversification is continuing to broaden as we respond to specific situations. The type of language programme is determined by such factors as:
- Scope: whether the project will include a full translation (i.e. New Testament or substantial Old New Testament portions, in printed or audio form) or will be limited to Scripture portions, literacy training etc.
- Size of team/number of personnel involved.
- Number of languages: single or multi-language programme.
- Management: who assumes the leading management role.
- Environment: political, religious.
- Location/Access: whether the translation activity is being conducted in the heartland of the language community, outside the region or outside the country.
If you or your church would like to be part of the global Bible translation movement please Email admin -at- wycliffenz -dot- org for more details.