Scripture Access 2015

Some great news about Bible translation and an awkward little niggle.

Recently, Wycliffe released their latest Scripture Access statistics; you can find the full story here. The headlines are captured in this graphic.

The article goes on to say:

Today, millions more people around the world have access to God’s Word in the language they understand best. God is accomplishing His mission through His power and through partnership.

There are about 7000 languages in active use and at least one book of Scripture exists in over 2,900 of these languages.

At least 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible available in their first language. Over 663 million of these have the New Testament; others have portions or at least some level of work begun.

There is known active translation and/or linguistic development happening in 2,267 languages across more than 130 countries

Staff from organisations in the Alliance are involved in approximately 78% of these programmes.

This is truly remarkable; a cause for celebration and thankfulness to God for making it all happen. It’s an immense privilege to be involved in this worldwide movement.

However, I’ve just got a little niggling problem: to what extent can we say that people have access to God’s Word if they only have a book of Scripture or perhaps a New Testament. I’d certainly agree that it’s better to have some Scripture than no Scripture at all, but are we setting the bar too low? God gave us the whole Bible (including the difficult bits) for a reason, shouldn’t we be aiming to see it all translated into the languages of the world? I’ve touched on this previously, here and here and have a longer paper available here.


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4 replies on “Scripture Access 2015”

Unfortunately, most languages are unlikely to see the whole of the Bible translated under current strategies and priorities.

I assume “Complete Bible” means complete Protestant Bible in these stats. Which is not meant to be a sarcastic question, but a genuine one, which has another implication. Has anyone investigated translations of lectionaries which is another aspect of bible translation, but disguised as liturgical provision in the local language?

Hi Doug. Yes, when these stats refer to full Bible, they do mean the Protestant canon. That being said, by the nature of things, many (I’ve no idea of the percentage, sadly) of the languages which have a full Protestant Bible would also have the deuterocanonical books available, too. Generally, Old Testament translation is such a big job that it requires inter-confessional teams who often also translate the books in the Catholic canon.

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