Figures released by a leading Bible translator have revealed that, despite the huge advances made in the translation of the Word of God, one in five people are still completely deprived of access to the Holy scriptures.
The data was released by Wycliffe Bible Translators, which regularly tracks the progress of Bible translation across the globe. The organization revealed that the complete Bible was now available in a staggering 698 languages across the world, up from 683 in 2018). In addition, some 1,548 languages now have a complete New Testament (up from 1,534).
“These are encouraging figures, and represent the tremendous work that translation teams are doing across the world,” said Wycliffe statistician Peter Brassington of the latest findings. “Changes year to year don’t always look dramatic on the surface, but Bible translation requires dedicated long-term effort, and the translations finished now often started many years ago. I joined Wycliffe in 1996: the number of languages in which there is a complete Bible has doubled in that time.”
There are still challenges, however, with many still unable to acquire the scriptures in their native language. According to Wycliffe, there are still over 250 million people across the world who are still without any means to read the Bible because it has yet to be translated into a dialect that they can comprehend.
“According to the statistics, the number of active languages (including Sign Languages) in the world stands at 7,353,” Wycliffe explained. “Although there are 3,384 languages with some portions of the Bible, there are 3,969 (covering 252 million people) with not even a single verse.”
In light of this startling figure, the organization’s Executive Director, James Poole, noted that “there is still much work to do” in order to translate the Bible into the specific dialects that can be understood by each and every people group on earth.
“Nearly 1.5 billion people do not have the Bible in the language they understand best,” he added, referring to those who do not have access to scriptures that have been translated into their number one, preferred language.
“That’s one in five of the world’s population,” Poole lamented. “That’s why Wycliffe continues to work with urgency to translate God’s word into all these languages.”