Those Who Have Gone Before Us in Bible Translation [VIDEO]
Bible translation is about transforming lives through the power of God's Word. Worldwide, translation organizations and their partners are working to give every person access to the biblical texts or recordings in a language they can understand. Once someone encounters the Bible in their own language, they can decide for themselves to follow or reject its message.
The goal of every tribe, tongue, and nation having access to God's Word is not a new one. Generations of believers have been toiling to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. Today, bible translation workers stand on their shoulders, follow in their footsteps, and build on their foundations. Watch the video below by Seed Company for a closer look at the translators who have gone before us.
These are only a few of the thousands of unnamed saints who gave their time, resources, and even lives for Bible translation.
In fact, the work of Bible translation began long before Townsend or Wycliffe were born. St. Jerome first translated the Scriptures into Latin in the 4th century. Even the New Testament authors themselves acted as Bible translators when they wrote the gospel accounts for the first time - translating quoted Hebrew Scriptures into Greek for their target audiences.
Still Work to Be Done
So if Bible translation is nothing new - and has in fact been going on for centuries - why is there still work left to be done?
There are currently over 7,000 languages spoken worldwide, and only 10% have the complete Bible. In Nigeria where most of my work is currently focused, there are 500+ languages spoken. Complete Bible translations exist for 38 of them.
Until recently, translating the entire Bible into another language took decades - in some cases, entire lifetimes - to accomplish. Early on, translators like St. Jerome, Martin Luther, and John Wycliffe were working on their own with very few resources to aid them in interpreting the source material or discovering linguistic tools available in their target languages. With over 31,000 verses in the Bible, it's astounding that these translation pioneers accomplished what they did largely unaided!
Today, most translators work on teams where they share resources, time, and talent to achieve their translation goals. Of course, there are also many technological advances that allow teams to work faster both in translating and sharing the finished products with their language communities. Many translation organizations are focusing on developing more resources and training teams to apply them to their specific contexts.
So while innovation and project acceleration are focal points in the Bible translation movement today, we also stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us - learning from both their mistakes and successes.
If you're looking for ways you can help bring God's Word to those who don't have it, prayer is one of the biggest needs. Pray for translation teams around the world who are bringing the Bible to their language communities for the first time and for God to raise up more translation workers for the task!