According to a new report by the United Bible Societies, 2014 most likely was a record-setting year for the number of new Bible translations in new languages. It was printed in 51 new languages covering 1.3 billion people.

Liberian villagers celebrate Bible translation in their language (United Bible Societies photo)
Liberian villagers celebrate Bible translation in their language (United Bible Societies photo)

But it wasn’t without it’s challenges. Two challenges came in two African nations–Liberia and Nigeria. In Liberia, workers for the Bible Societies had to deal with the Ebola outbreak. Despite the spread of the disease and the quarantines, two first-time translations were completed and widely distributed across the nation “at a time when people needed God’s Word in their language more than ever before.” Liberians gathered for celebratory marches in the streets of their villages when they received their Bibles for the first time. Others held off their celebrations until the worst of the Ebola outbreak passed.

In Nigeria, translators were faced with increased Boko Haram attacks. The terrorist group bombed their office in September, but this didn’t prevent the first-time translations being distributed in December with the potential of reaching 2.1 million with the complete Bible.

United Bible Societies infographic
United Bible Societies infographic

Here’s a breakdown of the statistics on the translations:

  • “18 language groups received their very first full Bible.”
  • 10 language groups got their first New Testament.
  • Two language groups got a smaller portion of God’s word for the first time.
  • “The full Bible is now available in 542 languages spoken by 4.9 billion people.”
  • “[T]he New Testament is available in 1,324 languages spoken by a further 673 million people.”
  • “1,020 languages have shorter portions of Scripture.”
  • “4,015 languages spoken by 460 million people are still without any Scripture at all.”

While Satan uses many humans to try to stop God’s word from going forth, the power of the Holy Spirit is stronger than all the power of his enemies and the spread of the gospel continues to increase which means more lost souls are entering God’s kingdom. That’s something worth celebrating!

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace… Isaiah 55

Source: Andrea Rhodes of United Bible Societies, 2014 — A Remarkable Year for Bible Translation, Despite Challenges, ChristianNewsWire.com, April 30, 2015.

Harry A. Gaylord

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