Fill hearts with God ’s Word
“Our mission is not to fill bookshelves but to fill hearts with the life-changing words of Scripture,” says United Bible Societies (UBS) Director of Global Bible Translation, Alexander Schweitzer.
It is thus heartening to share that over the last five years, Bible Societies worldwide have completed Scripture translations for more than a fifth of the world’s population. These include translations in 270 languages used by over 1,7 billion people.
During those five years, first Scripture translations were completed in 154 languages used by 186 million people. Last year, first translations in 50 languages were published, with a potential reach of 29 million people. Six of those languages received the complete Bible for the first time, including Ellomwe – a language spoken by nearly 2,3 million people in Malawi.
Groups in Chad and Tanzania were also the recipients of a first Bible translation in one of their languages. A first New Testament became available for two other African countries while four were the recipients of various portions of Scripture translated for the very first time.
In 2019, a five-year high for the umber of translations launched in a single year by the UBS Fellowship was attained: 90 languages used by nearly 617 million people.
On 24 November last year, the Bible Society of South Africa launched a new translation, The Bible for the Deaf. This Bible written in a basic English, aims to make the Word of God more accessible to the Deaf who, because of their limited reading vocabulary, cannot understand other Bibles.
The Director General of the UBS, Michael Perreau, lauded the hard work and impact of these achievements. “The generosity of supporters across the world and the dedication of Bible translators, many of them working in difficult circumstances, has made Scripture available in the languages of an incredible 1,7 billion people over the past five years.”
By God’s grace, the United Bible Societies and other Bible translation agencies are determined to make Scriptures available in every language. For the first time in history, this is a realistic goal to be accomplished in our generation.