Spreading the Word

There are 7361 known living languages, including sign languages, in use in the world right now. However, readers of only 683 of these languages have the complete Bible available, with another 1534 languages having just a New Testament translation.

While there is translation and/or linguistic development happening in 2658 languages across more than 170 countries, as of a year ago there were still 1879 spoken languages and 284 sign languages likely to need some form of Bible translation. These languages represent more than 180 million people.

In Revelation 7:9 we see that God wants all people to know and worship him in their own language: ‘After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands’.

Furthermore, according to Christian speaker, professor, writer and musician Dr Bob Rice, ‘In 2000 years of church history we cannot find a healthy, growing church that is not a Bible-reading church. Without sustained reading of the Word, a church will eventually go into false doctrine, or go out of existence altogether.’

What impact does Bible translation have today?

‘Chaiti from P village is about 35 years [old]. She was not able to write anything before she come to the literacy class. But now after attending literacy class she is able to read Big books and Primer pages. And also now she is able to write her name. By seeing that, her husband is very happy. Her desire is to read the Bible. So she attends the literacy class regularly. So please pray for her that God may help her more and more to study.’ – this story demonstrates the grassroots impact in South Asia of the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Audrey was first introduced to the work of Bible translation in 2004 and has since been on a number of short-term mission trips. During these trips she saw how important it was for people to have the Bible in their own language. If pastors struggle to understand the Bible in their country’s national language, how can they disciple people from their own local language community?

She was also challenged by how many Bible translations we have available in English (literally 100s) and by how much still needs to be done to translate the Bible into languages which have no Scripture available.

In 2014, Audrey went to South Asia to help at a training workshop for local translators. The experience introduced her to the process of Bible translation and showed her how she could serve. Now, having equipped herself for the work, she is ready to return long-term. She is excited about serving the local church and working with national Bible translators as they translate God’s word into their languages.
This is a wonderful opportunity for us in the LCA/NZ to join God’s work in this area. Martin Luther translated the Bible into German so that “everyday people” could read and access God’s Word so Bible translation is a key part of our heritage in the Lutheran church.

Please pray for Audrey as she prepares to serve in South Asia. If you would like to hear more about Audrey, support her through prayer, finance or encouragement in this ministry, you are invited to contact LCA International Mission at lcaim@lca.org.au or 08 8267 7300.

Read more stories about Bible Translation at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/bible-translation/

Names and places have been intentionally omitted.