2021 sees growing demand for oral Bible translations

By January 22, 2021

International (MNN) — The pandemic has led to a surge in things like Zoom meetings, virtual conferences, and video calls to family. Digital access is growing — and in the ministry world, this also looks like a growing demand for oral Bibles.

Ed Weaver with Spoken Worldwide says, “As you look at the consumption of information by people around the world, it’s continuing to grow in terms of non-text based consumption. So whether it’s online news, whether it’s streaming videos, whether it’s podcasts, whether it’s other audio content [or] audiobooks, there’s just a huge growth spurt that we all have seen happening.”

One common myth is that oral Bible translation is just for people who can’t read. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.


(Photo courtesy of Spoken Worldwide)

Roughly two-thirds of people in the world are oral learners — people who can’t read and/or simply prefer not to — and oral Bibles for them!

For example, Weaver shares, “A friend of mine that works with YFC in Lebanon has said, ‘I’ve had to change my entire Bible study methodology so that I could disciple people better…. I’ve actually had to start listening to audio Bibles so I can then tell the people I’m discipling, ‘Why don’t you listen to this passage and then let’s discuss it.’’”

Spoken Worldwide supports oral Bible translation because they believe learning by text shouldn’t be a requirement to have God’s Word. 

Going into 2021, their ministry is expanding to keep up with oral Bible requests.

“That wasn’t necessarily expected,” Weaver says. “We’ve got to find ways to scale pretty quickly. So one of the challenges we face is how do we find people fast enough that can help us meet the demand for this type of content? And to be able to do that effectively? Not just scale for scale’s sake, but how do you scale with quality?”

As Spoken Worldwide looks to grow in oral Bible translation work, pray for their discernment to steward God’s resources well.

Weaver also says they would love feedback from fellow believers who would like to contribute to the oral Scripture movement. “We’ll take any kind of comments at [email protected] to say, ‘Have you thought about this? Would you consider this? How are you going to address this particular issue?’”

Learn more about Spoken Worldwide here!





Header photo courtesy of Spoken Worldwide.