Posts Tagged ‘bible’

Together We Can

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by Martin Horton

I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there-all nations and tribes, all races and languages. Rev 7:9-10 (MSG)

In November last year, there were fantastic celebrations in the Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea, as 11 language groups celebrated receiving a mini-Bible in their own mother-tongue.

What is in a Mini-Bible? They consist of the Gospel of Mark, which is the easiest gospel to translate, the book of Acts which covers how the church was established and then a panorama of the Old Testament which includes sections of the Old Testament that cover key Biblical events mentioned in the New Testament.

These were completed through a project called VITAL* which adopted the PNG Branch’s motto, ‘Together We Can’. Karla Watt, who was the project manager, believes that this motto sums up a new approach to Bible translation. In essence it is about the value of team work. VITAL is a multi-language translation strategy designed to meet the needs of language communities and dialects of the East Papua Region of Papua New Guinea that had no other way to begin a programme in the near future.

Karla goes on to explain,

The expatriates brought their Bible, linguistic, exegetical and software A to the table, while the nationals from each group brought the expertise in their languages so that “together” we could accomplish the task.’

VITAL has helped 14 language groups print books in their languages. These include literacy materials, AIDS materials, trial dictionaries, portions of Genesis, a Mark Bible Study and first editions of Mark as well as publishing and launching the Mini-Bible for 11 languages in late 2016.

Please pray for the work of VITAL and the people of Milne Bay:

  • Pray that as the fruit of 10 years work goes out to 11 language groups in Milne Bay, lives will be transformed as people read and understand his great love for them in their own heart languages.
  • Pray that those who aren’t able to read will be reached through listening to God’s word on Megavoice Storyteller MP3 players.
  • Pray that these teams will be motivated to continue translating God’s word using the equipment and training that they received through the VITAL Project.

Looking for more ways to pray for Bible translation? Sign up for our free magazine Words for Life which includes a prayer point for each day, or have Bible translation prayer points emailed to you each day.

*Vernacular Initiative for Translation and Literacy (VITAL) is a project run by SIL who are one of our language partners.

Anna grows in confidence

Monday, November 7th, 2016 by Camilla

Anna sits quietly in the circle of workshop attendees, eagerly listening to the conversation and poring over the words of her Setswana translated Bible.

Anna is a single mother from the village of Kapatura in northern Botswana. She took part in a cluster project. ‘The first time I heard some speak about the Bible was the first time I was interested in the Bible. I used to hear the Bible, but wasn’t really interested until then,’ says Anna.

confident-annaNever before had Anna received the opportunity to learn the Scriptures for herself instead of having someone tell her. The churches she used to attend taught false doctrines, she says, and convinced members that the only way to know God was directly through the pastors in charge rather than through the Bible.

When Anna began attending Sunday morning Bible study, she was suddenly handed the power and confidence to listen, ask questions and learn more and more about God’s word for herself. Each week, those that attend the studies practice their ability to memorise, internalise and then share a new Bible story. They work together to reach the best translation, and everyone’s opinion – no matter their age or background – is viewed equally.

Anna talks about the difference the ability to wholeheartedly pursue true knowledge of the Bible has made in her life. ‘I used to only know God by mouth, but now, by learning the Bible, I know this is where my life is. If I hold onto the Bible, I will have a good life.’

God is clearly using Anna and she has already begun to narrate Bible stories to her family at home, and her plan to share with the youth around her is inspiring and impressive. Here is a timid and seemingly unqualified woman proving that God’s love doesn’t differentiate.

Thankful and passionately ready to move forward, Anna prays that her actions bring glory to God.

This story originally appeared on our partner organisation the Seed Company’s website.

Interested in supporting the work of Bible translation? Find out more on how you can go, give or pray.

Bible Sunday: How much do you value the Bible?

Monday, October 24th, 2016 by Camilla

According to research by ComRes for the Bible Society, only 57% of Christians in Britain (not including church leaders) believe the Bible should shape their daily lives “a great deal”, and a surprisingly low 35% said they read the Bible every day. Surprised? So am I. Read more here.

As yesterday was Bible Sunday, we’re encouraging our readers to give some extra thought to their Bible study. Be honest: What is your relationship with God’s word? How would you like it to change? How big is the gap between your aspirations and your practice?

It’s OK if you’re not quite where you want to be. Don’t fall into the guilt trap and hope that will motivate you to change. There are better ways.

Consider your destination before deciding how to get there. What do you want your Bible study to look like? What do you want to get out of it? If it helps, write down 2-3 simple goals.

Once you have a destination in mind, plan your route. Don’t try to get there in one day – you’ll run out of steam. Play the long game – start small and build up.

Stuck in a rut? Try mixing it up! Try a different Bible translation, or an audio Bible (there are plenty of free ones available online). Try reading at different times of the day. Try reading with others. Team up with an accountability partner.

Also: Check out my new favourite resource, The Bible Project! The Bible project has a series of videos exploring different books of the Bible and where they fit in to the overall story the Bible tells as a whole, as well as videos on specific themes such as The Covenants, and the Image of God.

If you want to get into the Bible more, but feel like you need one more little push, try this short article by Christian Today: 4 reasons you should make time for daily devotions if you aren’t already.

Hear the word of the Lord

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 by Ruth

David Suchet, whose birthday is today (happy birthday, David!), fulfilled what he describes as “a 27 year ambition” to make an audio recording of the entire NIV Bible, from Genesis right the way through to Revelation.

David SuchetThe recording is the first full-length audio Bible spoken by a single British actor, and it took David over 200 hours in the recording studio to bring the project to completion.

“I thought ‘Well one thing I can do, or I think I can do, is to read’, and I’ve for many, many years felt that I wanted to put my voice to the Bible, and not only bits of the Bible, but the whole thing.

“It will, for me, fulfil what I suppose is a 27 year ambition,” he muses.

David reminds us of the Biblical command to “Hear the word of the Lord”, found in multiple places within Scripture, including Isaiah 28:14, Ezekiel 27:4 and Acts 13:44.

“It doesn’t say ‘Read the word of the Lord’, it says ‘Hear the word of the Lord’,” Suchet notes. “It’s my prayer that…it will be fresh and [those listening] will think, as I think when I’m reading, ‘God, this is fantastic’.”

View this in YouTube

David has big dreams for the recording, the fee for which he is donating entirely to charity.

“What I hope from a personal point of view, is that whoever wants to will be able to read the Bible at the same time as listen to it, or listen to it without reading it, and that they will want to keep returning to it,” he says.

“But in practical terms, I have done it and I must leave it to the far higher being, and let him do what he wants with it.”

David’s prayer resonates with the heart of Wycliffe Bible Translators in that we long for God’s word – in whatever format or language needed – to transform the lives of those who engage with it. This particular audio version is available as an app or you can listen online via the BibleGateway.

(Article adapted from Christianity Today’s original report.)

God speaks Dukawa!

Monday, February 29th, 2016 by Camilla

Nigeria is home to around 20 percent of Africa’s population, and over 500 languages (not dialects, but languages). One of these languages is Dukawa.

Previously, Dukawa speakers read the Bible in Hausa, one of Nigeria’s trade languages – but while they used this language in the marketplace, it wasn’t the language of their hearts. With the Bible finally available in their mother tongue, many Dukawa speakers can now understand God’s word in a way they couldn’t before.

When translation advisers David and Carleen Heath first went to Nigeria in 1995, they only knew of two churches with Dukawa pastors and a majority of Dukawa worshipers. There may have been more, but not many. But the impact of the translated word in Dukawa speakers’ mother tongue as opposed to a trade language has been huge – 340 individuals gave their lives to Christ in October 2015 alone. Churches are multiplying, and today there are over 200 Dukawa churches!

‘We went to church for many years, but it wasn’t until we saw the JESUS Film in our own language that we understood that Jesus died for our sins. We always thought he died because he did something wrong.’

Read more about how you could get involved in Bible translation.

Do something for Lent this year!

Monday, February 8th, 2016 by Camilla

Lent is almost upon us! Even if you don’t attach spiritual significance to the forty days, it can be a great opportunity to step back, take stock and invest in something worthwhile. We wanted to share a few ideas from other organisations that might help you to re-plug into God’s word, prayer, and practising thankfulness and generosity. Have a browse below!

  • Lent ideas don’t have to be specially designed for Lent – it could be a fantastic time to think and pray for brothers and sisters around the world in hardship. Why not use resources from Open Doors to spend Lent praying for the persecuted church? You could extend the 40 days to 50, and spend a day praying for Christians in each country on their World Watch List, which highlights the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. three tips for better Bible reading
  • We love Stewardship’s encouragement to do Lent generously with their 40 Acts challenge. They offer three different levels of the challenge, depending on how far you want to stretch yourself, and will take you through the 40 days of Lent with a fun, interesting, creative, generous activity for each day. It could be showing love to your church family, buying fairtrade chocolate or living for a day on a fiver. It’s bound to make you think more about the details of your day and challenge you to live generously. (They’ve got 40 Acts for kids too!)
  • This year Christian Aid is offering a great Count Your Blessings challenge. There is a 1-2 sentence reflection to read each day, and a challenge to either pray for a specific need or make a small donation based on what you have (eg 10p for every year of education you have completed), and of course, you’re encouraged to count your blessings, one by one.
  • Author Margaret Feinberg finds Lent can be one of the most perspective-changing, hope-filled times of the year. She invites you to join her for a 40-day Bible reading challenge and let God speak to you through Luke and Acts this Lent.
  • If you want to spend Lent getting into the Bible in a new way, Desiring God offers three tips for better Bible reading, and a handy overview of how long it takes to read each book of the Bible.
  • And let’s not forget what comes immediately before Lent: tomorrow is Pancake Day! Locate your favourite whisk and brush up on your flipping skills. Why not have some friends over and talk about what God is doing in your lives and around the world, and encourage each other to do something for Lent!


For lots more activities, Bible studies and small group resources to help you get stuck into mission, visit our Resources page.

Reaching the Deaf with the Scriptures

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 by Camilla

The latest edition of the Wycliffe magazine, Words for Life, is now out! This edition features plenty of exciting news from the world of Bible translation, including this great story, Until all the Deaf have seen, which shines a spotlight on Bible translation for the Deaf community.

‘When Christians think of those around the world who are the hardest to reach, they often think of people living in Islamic regions or in remote areas. While those groups of people are more challenging to reach with the gospel, there is another group of people who are often overlooked…the estimated 50 million Deaf* people in the world today!

IMG_1043In many parts of the world, the Deaf are not only an overlooked minority group, but actually an oppressed one. Many cultures consider it shameful when parents give birth to a Deaf child. Deaf children are often hidden away and not given access to education and other resources that hearing children benefit from. In addition, Deaf people are scattered throughout regions and countries, rather than being found in localised groups.

No matter what country you consider, the Deaf are always less reached than their hearing counterparts. They are the only people group who generally do not learn their ‘mother tongue’ from their parents. Most Deaf children are born to hearing parents who very often never learn to communicate effectively with them.’

The whole article is available on page 20 of Words for Life.

*’Deaf’ is used to refer to people who are culturally part of the Deaf community, not simply those who cannot hear.


About the Bible

Saturday, March 7th, 2015 by Phil

A few months ago, Wycliffe were asked to contribute to a short educational film about the Bible to be used in schools. It’s not a bad overview – though I’m sure that there are things we would want to express differently if it were left to us – but it does include one short segment on Bible translation which we obviously love.

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Favourite verses around the world

Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Ruth

The GMI Missiographics team share another eye-opening infographic with us, this time exploring how people around the world are searching the Bible, based on stats from

Global Bible Searches - What Are They Searching For?

Global Bible Searches – What Are They Searching For?

There are some favourites of mine here, featuring across national borders, such as John 1, our introduction to Jesus, the Word of God.  There’s also the chapter about Love in 1 Corinthians 13, and the famous ‘song for the sheep’ in Psalm 23.

But Missiographics leave us some challenging questions about this snapshot. For example,

‘In Pakistan and Nigeria, all of the top 5 searches are from the Old Testament.’

‘If many searches in your country of interest are Old Testament searches, how are you weaving the Old Testament into your presentation of the gospel?’

Of all the languages in the world, only 513 have the entire Bible.  Most languages, if they have any Scripture at all, have just the New Testament, or maybe some portions of the Old.

We recently wrote about Nigeria, which has the largest need for Bible translation in Africa, with a total of 520 languages, 250 of which have no known Scripture.

So when starting a new translation project, where would you start? Would you start by translating John 3:16, because it’s your favourite verse?

Often, rural communities relate strongly to Old Testament stories rooted in pastoral culture, so it might make sense to start translating portions of the Old Testament, rather than diving straight into the New Testament gospels.  Who gets to decide?  The stats here seem to show there’s a hunger in Nigeria for the Psalms!

Decisions like these are not simple to make, and are part of a process of the language community working together with national translators and ex-pat colleagues to set project priorities.  Some books are easier to translate linguistically, like Jonah.  Some are really hard because of complex themes or ‘key terms’ used, like ‘redemption’ or ‘sin’.

But the challenge remains.  If there is no Scripture at all in the language you understand best, would you have a favourite Bible verse at all?

  • The Life of a Language Project explains some of the stages a in project, even before the first word is translated.
  • You can be involved in ensuring that those without any Scripture can have a favourite verse of their own.

Wish you knew more about the Bible?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 by Ruth

A recent poll at shows that most of their users wish they knew more about the Bible.

Readers of the Bible Gateway Blog were asked “How do you describe your personal knowledge of the Bible?”, to which more than 2,000 responded. Of that number, a total of 59% agreed with, “Wish I knew more.”

Almost a third of responders (28%) said they are “comfortably knowledgeable,” nearly a tenth (9%) called themselves “a Bible scholar,” and 4% said, “About all I know are some of the names of the books, but not in order.” (read full post here)

Bible Society’s inflatable whale attraction

Add to this recent news from the Bible Society whose Pass It On campaign includes an inflatable whale attraction which shares the story of Jonah with the UK public.  General knowledge of key Bible stories, according to YouGov research, is even shakier.

‘Research conducted by YouGov for Bible Society showed that whilst half of all parents think it is important for their children to engage with the Bible; in practice 59 per cent of children didn’t know Jonah and the Whale was a Bible story. The research further revealed that 29 per cent of children couldn’t identify the Nativity as a Bible story.‘ (full article from Inspire)

Whilst we celebrate that the BibleGateway have just added audio translations in four more languages to their impressive selection of Bible versions available online, there still remain around 98 million people worldwide without any Scripture in their language, and a definite need for Bible translation to begin for them.

How much of the Bible do you think they know, without one?

  • Will you help them know more of the God of the Bible, by being a part of bringing the Bible to them for the very first time?
  • And for those of you who wish you knew more about the Bible, why not check out Wycliffe’s free downloadable small group resource, The Bible: Frequently Asked Questions?
  • Take a look at our presentation series Understanding the Scriptures on Slideshare, with experienced translators sharing their insights and examples from the world of Bible translation.