International (MNN) — Out of over 6,900 languages spoken worldwide, about 2,200 have yet to have a translation of the Bible. The number of people represented by the 2,200 languages still without any part of the written Word stretches past 350 million.
Bible translation has been going on for centuries, but the transience of languages makes translation difficult as languages form and die out. Now, finally, the Body of Christ is beginning to catch up, and Bible translation is moving faster than ever before.
"We're involved in the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation that the church has ever witnessed," says Bob Creson, president of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
A large factor in the increase in speed comes from Wycliffe's work in Bible translation. Wycliffe has been translating the Bible into various languages since 1942, but in 1999, the ministry set a goal to see a copy of the Bible at least in the beginning stages of translation in every language by the year 2025. In ten years, they watched the number of languages without a Bible translation drop from 3,000 to 2,200.
In 2008, Wycliffe embarked on their Last Languages Campaign, combining prayer, service and fund raising to accomplish a call they believe is close to God's heart. The number of projects the ministry starts each year continues to grow, and Wycliffe began a record high of 109 Bible translation projects last year.
Still, beginning 2,200 more translations in the next 15 years is no simple task. Wycliffe is still shooting for this goal but has a few major needs to make it there: prayer, people and funds.
The first and most serious need is for prayer.
"Without God's continued favor, we're not going to accomplish this," says Creson. "We love being able to pray according to God's heart. We believe that we're praying about something that has always been close to God's heart."
Wycliffe has created a prayer network in which people can sign up to pray for a specific language project and receive updates on how the translation is going. To subscribe to receive e-mail updates to pray for a language project, click here.
The need for people also remains high. Funding is made obsolete if there are no people to do the work, and the work extends far beyond translation.
"We still need translators; we still need literacy specialists. But we [also] still need people who can become involved in administration. We need teachers. We still need a few pilots every year. We need IT specialists. We have opportunities for people across the board with various skills who can participate in this greatest acceleration."
Whether your skills lie in hospitality or telecommunications, or somewhere in between, each position plays a key role in Bible translation with Wycliffe. To explore options for short or longer-term ministry with Wycliffe, click here.
Finally, funding is a necessary part of any campaign or project. If you would like to help support the Last Languages Campaign to bring the written Word to the nations by 2025, consider partnering with Wycliffe financially. Click here to give.
Whether or not you are able to go or to give, please pray for people who have yet to receive the Bible in the language they understand best, and for those who are working hard to bring it to them. For a list of specific prayer points, click here.