Two million more people have the full Bible in their language

More full Bibles than ever before are available in the widest number of languages to date.

At the start of 2019 some 5.6 billion people have access to the full Bible in 692 languages. These figures represent an increase of 200 million people and 18 languages on the 2017/18 figures when 5.4 billion people had access to a full Bible in 674 languages.

In addition, 1,547 languages used by 805 million people have the New Testament. Also, shorter portions of Scripture are available in a further 1,123 languages used by 411 million people.

Still waiting for the Bible

However, of the 7,111 languages in the world, 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible in their language. In total, 3,988 languages used by 246 million people don’t have any Scripture at all.

Pastor Cil Poh with his newly published Koho Bible

United Bible Societies critical translator

But there’s good advancement to date with Scripture translations in 66 languages used by 440 million people finished last year. This was achieved by Bible Societies worldwide working closely with churches and partner organisations.

Reaching young people

Bible Societies also published new or revised translations for 22 languages used by 363 million people that already have some Scripture, including the completion of five full Bibles. These fresh translations will help new generations be able to understand and engage with Scripture.

Eritrea in Africa gets first New Testament!

Letensea, age 42, celebrated with thousands of others at the launch of the very first New Testament in Eritrea in their language, Blin. “Today, I have received food that can fill us up more than anything in the world: this new Scripture speaks to our hearts!” she exclaimed.

After the celebration, copies of the new Scripture were loaded onto camels to take to villages and churches in remote areas.

Church leaders and County Government officials receive the unveiled revised Maasai Bible

Acceleration in Bible translation

There is a gathering momentum in Bible translation as the dream of every person on earth being able to access God’s word gets closer. Translation processes have benefitted from technology, with better software and online resources. Translation is increasingly owned by the community whose language is being translated.

Last year UBS embarked on a bold 20-year journey that aims to provide around 600 million people with new access to Scripture in their heart language. If Bible Societies receive the funding they need, this will involve the completion of 1,200 translation projects by 2038.

“Our 20-year vision and mission strategy builds on a legacy of sacrifice and generosity passed down by generations of faithful servants,” says UBS Director General Michael Perreau. “Now we continue that mission with fresh momentum by working more closely than ever before with partners around the world, including modern day Bible heroes living lives of sacrifice and dedication so that we all might have access to the life-giving word of God.”

You can bring the Easter story to Kiwi kids!

Just over 18 months ago, we embarked on a campaign designed to encourage and equip parents, grandparents and caregivers to pass on their passion for the Bible to the next generation.

Little did we know how big that campaign would become.

Yes, you read it right – with the help of our supporters, we’ve distributed 200,000 Bible storybooks to Kiwi kids through families, churches and other organisations. Our supporters have helped make this initiative a success, bringing the love of Jesus to many young New Zealanders through the Bible.

Thanks to the generosity of many people, children nationwide are now reading and engaging with the story of Jesus.

Some of them will have learned about Jesus for the very first time. Some of them will have learned what Easter and Christmas are really all about.

But it’s not only kids that are being impacted. Adults, too, are encountering these stories for the first time. One church in Auckland was asked to lead a children’s storytime session at their local library. They told the story of Easter, and gave out The Super Cool Story of Jesus book to families. One parent said she had never heard this story before.

This is what the church told us…

“We really felt we were giving the children something of worth and something that will remind them in the many Easters to come that it is about Jesus and the love he gave us.”

Making the Bible accessible and encouraging interaction with it is our mission, and it’s exactly what’s happening through these little Bible storybooks. Thanks to our supporters, thousands of children are receiving these books at street parades, community events, in Salvation Army Family Stores and food parcels, and through organisations like Angel Tree and Mainly Music.

TheSeriouslySurprisingStoryPostCoverNow, we have another opportunity to reach even more children with the story of Jesus.

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New leadership at Bible Society New Zealand

Bible Society New Zealand is delighted to announce the appointment of a new CEO, Neels Janse van Rensburg, who will commence his tenure on 1 April 2019.

The current General Manager of Manna Christian Stores, Neels has more than 18 year’s experience in fostering operational efficiencies across the corporate, private and non-profit sectors. He served as a Chief Operating Officer and Divisional Director at a number of different organisations in South Africa. More recently he worked as a senior manager at the ANZ Bank in New Zealand.

Neels joined Bible Society in January 2013 as Missions Delivery Manager before moving to Relationships Director, where he was responsible for all external stakeholder interaction and mission resource delivery. continue reading →