If you’re reading this post you are among the 1/3 of the world’s population who communicates through the written word. And unless this is a translated version you’re also in an even smaller group that considers English their heart language– the language that they know well enough to truly connect with the message they’re giving or receiving.
As of today there are approximately 7,000 known languages in the world, yet only 2,883 have a translated version of the bible. Active projects lead by Organizations like Wycliffe and the Seed Company have accelerated the pace of translation, but there are still thousands of languages with no written record of the Bible. How are we to win the world for Christ when there are still 1.3 Billion people in the world without access to the full bible in their first language?
And those numbers only reflect the literate, or those individuals for which the written word is easily understood and shared. When Jesus called the disciples to reach the ends of the earth, He meant everyone. Even (or particularly) those who live in cultures who rely on other forms of communication. The way humans share information, express emotion, and tell stories is rich and complex. But so is the Gospel.
Many of the highly relational cultures use stories, chants, songs, dramas and dance to share information. While in the West these modes are seen as artistic expressions or religious rituals, in many cultures they remain a primary (and highly accurate) source of communication and information flow. They often allow for more creativity in storytelling and allow a broader audience to understand the message, not just those who speak the same language.
So even if we successfully translate the bible into every language on earth, we’ll still fall short of the finish line set by Jesus through the Great Commission.
So where do we go in the midst of so great a challenge? For starters, we can help ensure that the bible is translated into every language on earth. While translating the bible into a tribal language is not a task to take on alone, we can help ensure the organizations tackling this challenge have the resources they need. Visit Wycliffe and The Seed Company to see how you can help accelerate their work.
But there are other ways to help ensure the bible is available to everyone. You can join a missions trip and take the Gospel to the unreached through drama, song, and other forms of expression. And there is a community of people connected to the call2all movement who share your passion and can help you make a difference in your community and around the world.
The Bible for Everyone is one of the five Finish Lines of the call2all movement— the Finish Lines are a biblical framework that, collectively, define the core elements of the Great Commission. Our role is to help provide tools and resources to equip the Body of Christ to see the Great Commission fulfilled, from identifying the needs to reporting on progress to connecting people to the community and the opportunities that best fit their passion and skill set.
We are working on several things that we hope will help connect you with the opportunities that best match your passion and calling, including opportunities to help take the bible to those who have yet to hear. Stay tuned to the blog and other call2all channels for more information. And consider this your official invitation to take a leadership role as we help fulfill our calling as followers of Christ.
During this festive season of celebrating the arrival of our Savior to this world, it adds to our joy to know that Jesus, having arrived as a Baby in a manger, is today the Lord of church planting!
Having once walked this earth for three years discipling 12 chosen Hebrews, He now disciples all who are called by His name. Church planters, with whom Christ shares His vision, often enjoy special direction and provision from Him.
Pastor Modhu of Bangladesh is one church planter who attests to this.
Ion, age 17 lived in a small town close to Donetsk, Ukraine. One day he began to walk. And didn’t stop.
Ion had lost everything. He was forced into hiding after a group of separatists killed his mother. He kept to the shadows, aided solely by a stranger who secretly brought him food from time to time. After a few months, Ion decided to make a run for it.
How does God take someone from a state of hopelessness and cause them to become a vibrant Christian witness to their world? Harsha, from Sri Lanka, is one who experienced God’s miraculous power of transformation.
Pugong, a shamanistic priest, lived in fear of evil spirits for most of his life. “I’m going to accept Christ,” he had said for many years, “but not yet. I’m still afraid of what the spirits will do to me.”
Over the years, friends and family encouraged Pugong to accept Christ and abandon the opposing traditions. They quoted John 3:16 and many other Scripture verses in his own language — Ifugao.
The first ION Orality Think Tank in India took place at the ISI, New Delhi. We were privileged to have a group of 35 participants from a wide variety of ministries in the fields of Bible translation, development, church planting & disciple-making, Theological education and media. Representatives were present from various church backgrounds, both Protestant and Catholic.