Wycliffe Bible Translators is celebrating with the YouVersion Bible app, one of its partner organisations, which has announced that Scripture is now available on its app in 1,500 languages. This represents a 15-fold increase in just eight years.
Peter Brassington, who serves with Wycliffe in helping people to access and engage with digital Scriptures, says: ‘Wycliffe’s vision, working in partnership with others, is to enable everyone to have access to God’s word in the language that speaks to them best – and in whatever form suits them best. Increasingly in this digital world, that includes making God’s word available not just through print but also digitally. So this is fabulous news that further shows the acceleration that is happening in the work of Bible translation, following the release of the Bible statistics a few weeks ago.’
The progress in the availability of Scripture on YouVersion has grown steadily through the decade. The 100th language to have digital Scripture was reached in 2012; the 500th in 2014; the 1000th in 2016, and now the 1,500th on 29 October this year (see image, right).
Wycliffe’s goal is for all people to be able to engage with the Bible in the language they know best. Translating the Bible is key to that, but so is distributing the completed translation as widely as possible – including through digital means.
This increased distribution is having a profound impact on people’s lives. For example, after seeing a digital version of the Malila New Testament, one Malila speaker in Tanzania said: ‘My whole life I had never thought that there would be a day when I would be able to see what I have seen today. Truly, I have seen God and heard him speaking to me.’
James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe, comments: James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe, comments: ‘This is such exciting news! In this age, having God’s word in digital form or online is crucial to reaching as many people as possible with the good news of Jesus. A key aspect of the work of Bible translation is to get people engaging with God’s word, and having it available digitally is a vital part of this. We hear many reports of people coming to faith in Jesus as they read or listen to the Scriptures online or on their phones in their own language, and we make translations widely available to enable this.’
YouVersion’s milestone of 1,500 languages is part of the bigger picture of the acceleration of Scripture being available on Bible apps. When YouVersion is added to other platforms such as Faith Comes By Hearing, global.bible and other individual sites and apps, Scripture is available digitally or online in 1,968 languages (see image, below). Peter comments: ‘The celebrations for reaching the 2,000 mark among these combined Bible apps are not far away, but each language is special and churches can play a part by ensuring people in their community can access Scripture. I’d love to see every church website point people to online Bibles.’
However, there is still much work to do. There are over 7,300 languages in the world, so only about 20% are represented on YouVersion, and only about 27% on YouVersion and the other platforms. 1 in 5 people are still waiting for the Bible in their own language.
James says: ‘These are very encouraging figures, and the work of Bible translation is accelerating. However, Wycliffe continues to press on for the 1 in 5 who currently do not have the Bible in the language that they understand best.’
Notes to Editors
1. For further information, call Jeremy Weightman on the Wycliffe Communications Team on 0300 303 1111.
2. Wycliffe Bible Translators seeks to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language that speaks to them best. It does this through a range of activities, including Bible translation, literacy and Scripture use initiatives. Currently, Wycliffe has 360 people from the UK and Ireland serving 530 million people who speak 360 languages in 71 countries. Of the 7,360 languages spoken worldwide today, only 704 have the Bible. Around 1.5 billion people (1 in every 5 people) do not have the Bible in their language. As a result, translation of the Bible into people’s languages is one of the critical needs in world mission, to enable the growth of evangelism and discipleship ministries.
3. Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partner organisations are currently involved in about three-quarters of global Bible translation efforts.
4. Images. You can download the following images to accompany the press release, by clicking on the ‘Image’ link and then saving to your desktop. All images should be credited as follows: © 2020 Wycliffe Bible Translators.