4 Bible translators murdered in Middle East

By March 22, 2016
(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

Middle East (WAS/MNN) — Bible translation in Muslim-dominant areas is risky. Mix that occupation with animosity aimed at Muslim-Background Believers and what you get is a volatile and often explosive reaction.

That’s proven true for Wycliffe Associates. President/Chief Executive Officer Bruce Smith confirms the deaths of four national translators (first generation Christians) recently in a Middle Eastern country, unnamed for security reasons. “Radical militants came into the workplace where five men were working, and the militants came in and killed two men very quickly. As they ran out of ammunition, they then began beating the others that had survived.” Two other workers laid on top of the lead translator, saving his life. They died deflecting bludgeoning blows from the radicals’ spent weapons.

Why hasn’t this story been on the news? Because it’s not news. Smith explains, “This is actually normal. Christians are attacked, they’re beaten, they’re killed, they’re jailed, they’re tortured, and they’re terrorized in this part of the world routinely.” In fact, they expect it, and yet, “they have such a thirst and such a commitment to getting God’s Word to their people that these are risks that they accept.”

During the attack, the gunmen destroyed all the equipment in the office including the Print On Demand (POD) equipment. They burned all the books and other translation materials in the office. Smith adds, “By God’s grace, the digital copies of the translations that were underway in about 8 languages were protected. They were backed up, and the work can continue.” You’d think that after a brutal attack like that, the translation team’s confidence would be shaken. In fact, quite the opposite is true, says Smith. “It increases their resolve to seeing God’s Word reach the hearts of the people who are caught in this kind of violence and hopelessness.”

They see that political and economic and other religious solutions are not answering the needs of the people, because “they’re not offsetting the violence and radical terrorism that’s occurring. They [the translators] really see God’s Word as their only hope.”

What’s next? Let’s pray for the injured translators. Pray for others to step up and take on the translation task. “Lift these brothers and sisters up in prayer: recognize that they are laboring in very difficult circumstances…. Also be moved to respond in a tangible way, not only to care and be concerned about them, but to respond in stewardship and to be supportive of the strategies that are in place.”

Please pray for Wycliffe Associates as they come along side this translation team to assist them, to replace equipment, to help the martyrs’ families and the families of those hospitalized.

Please pray that a new location will be found that will provide safety, security, and the freedom to continue translation and printing. Pray for the safe delivery of new computers and POD equipment that Wycliffe Associates will be providing the translation team.

The work is moving forward because no one can afford to quit. Here’s why: “The days of reaching the easiest places are mostly behind us…. Getting God’s Word to the remaining nations of the world…is the challenge that we face, the challenge to which God calls us.”

P.S. Smith says on the heels of getting word of this situation, came word from another Bible translation team that four New Testaments have been completed in the past couple months. Soli Deo Gloria.


  • The ugly side of the world continue to haunt us against our true believe that religious harmony should prevail around the world at best the best thing we not only roundly condem the dastard act but continue to really around the victims nobles cause

  • BODE ADEYEMO says:

    Praise God for the lives and commitment of the Xtians in that region generally and those involved in Christian work! They are definitely greatly inspiring.
    I appreciate the fact they don’t count their lives dear as to hinder the spread of God’s words. However, I will encourage them to be more sensitive to The Spirit, be Lead more and Take Authority in prayers. Spiritual warfare will definitely help in their situation. How this works may be that those that’d come to shoot them falls sick on the very day! This can happen repeatedly and lead to the conversion of some of would be assailants! The prayers can cause a disagreement among them and scattere them, etc

  • Roberta M says:

    Praying! Praising God for these faithful Christians and for the completed translations.

  • Religious persecution in times, past and future, has been and always will be until divinely ended. Praise God for the righteous ones answering God’s calling who are willing to accept the role of martyrdom. Sometimes it takes an act of violence to open hardened hearts. Prayers go out to the victim’s families, friends and the Wycliffe coworkers. Prayers for the continuance of the message of translation being fulfilled and for those accepting the Christian responsibility of Bible ministry!

  • Those who lose their lives in the service of Jehovah shall be rewarded with Life Everlasting.
    My thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy

  • The work of the Lord continues. The gate of hell cannot prevail against His Church. Glory be to God! May we all be comforted in Jesus’ name.

  • Thank you for your loving and forgiving account. We will pray, for all the things you ask,and for God’s forgiveness for the tortured souls who did this terrible act. In Christ your sister, Lucy

  • Anonymous says:

    Wycliffe says the martyrs were not actually with Wycliffe.

  • praying for the families, Wycliffe, the perpetrators, and our missionaries around the world.

  • The anonymous statement “martyrs were not actually with Wycliffe” is misleading. Dig deeper. The MNNONLINE news article quotes the president of Wycliffe Associates (USA). The link posted by anonymous, to wycliffe.net, refers to the Wycliffe Global Alliance. These are two separate organizations. Both organizations are truthful as to their part in this tragic story. Its creates a false message to just say “wycliffe” as if they were one and the same.

  • anonymous says:

    I think to choose God’s will over your own by risking your life to bring God’s word to others is as sensitive to the Holy Spirit as one could ever get. Do you think Jesus, upon greeting them at the moment of their death, would be saying “You coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’!?” NEVER!

  • Alice says:

    Precious unto Him is the death of His saints

Leave a Reply