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.
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.
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.”