An international Bible translation organization is urging Americans to pray for people working to advance the gospel across the globe, citing purported evidence of a noticeable “rise in the oppression of Bible translators.”
Wycliffe Associates released a statement on Dec. 1, urging prayer for those working on Bible translation projects in 33 countries — individuals who are helping with “training, technology and logistics.”
According to the press release, “The most severe and brutal persecution occurs in areas where Christianity is fiercely opposed,” though the organization declined to name those specific localities, citing safety fears.
This increased persecution comes after Wycliffe Associates developed a new method of Bible translation that has been proven to cut the oft-times decades-long process of scripture translation to mere months. The newfound method, known as the Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation, involves a rapid process in which groups of local translators collaborate.
Our hope is in the eternal. Thank goodness! pic.twitter.com/F240J2Pqkp
— Wycliffe Associates (@WycliffeAssoc) December 6, 2016
“Based on proven linguistics principles, MAST engages national translators and local church leaders in the drafting and checking process,” reads a description of the MAST program. “Checking takes places continually throughout the translation process, greatly increasing the accuracy of the final translation.”
The press release notes that 314 translation projects were launched in 58 different language in 2016, alone, and that 100 additional translations are almost complete — a stunning accomplishment, with efforts slated to increase even more next year; an additional 400 new translation efforts are slated to take place in 2017.
But with the completion of translations ramping up, it seems persecution against those working on these projects has also kicked into high gear. In fact, Wycliffe Associates CEO Bruce Smith said new reports of persecution and oppression are streaming in every week, with reports of arrests, torture, assault, murder and mysterious illnesses abounding.
“Spiritual warfare has become the ‘new normal’ for many national Bible translators,” Smith said in a statement. “When national translators gather in a workshop to launch a new language, it’s actually unusual for everything to go ‘as expected.'”
He’s asking Christians to step up and routinely pray for the Bible translators who are diligently working to bring the gospel to hard-to-reach areas abroad, saying “the work of Bible translation cannot advance without prayer.”
Read the entire press release calling for prayer here.
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