Church-Centric Bible Translation: find your place in the story

By November 10, 2021

International (MNN) — Yesterday, we spoke with David Reeves of unfoldingWord about understanding the “church” in “church-centric Bible translation.”

God is moving through church networks worldwide, and that works differently than how He moves in the West. “All those things that we use to divide us are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter which denomination background you come from in these foreign contexts,” Reeves says.

“Those of us who grew up in the West and our very fractured Protestantism have to set that aside and say, ‘what would it look like if we were walking in the first century?’”

The church networks partnering with unfoldingWord look and act like the house churches described in New Testament letters.

Some of these church networks might “identify themselves as the body of Christ to a city, like the church of Ephesus or Antioch,” Reeves says.

“It’s a very broad blend of people from various status –geopolitical status, demographic status, rich, poor, in-between – all living as the body of Christ together in community. [Believers] often work out of homes, but sometimes in hubs where they might be able to gather lots of homes together.”

(Graphic courtesy of unfoldingWord)

Now that you know, what will you do? Find your place in the story!

Reeves describes three ways to get involved.


“I would start with prayer because it will transform our hearts,” Reeves says.

Ask the Lord to help believers in these church networks endure persecution. Pray the Body of Christ will “grow and flourish like it did in the first century,” Reeves requests.

“Persecution was part of the equation beginning with Jerusalem when it broke out after the stoning of Stephen.”


You can also give to support unfoldingWord’s training and equipping process. Give online here.

“While church-centric Bible translation costs a fraction of any other model of Bible translation, there are always financial needs to help make these things happen,” Reeves says.

“We’ve got a series of training going on, for example, in Sudan. The costs are not for years and years of paying salaries, but showing up and doing training.”


Consider using your time and talents to serve alongside unfoldingWord. “We have openings on our website,” Reeves says. See a list of openings here.

“There are some key roles [for] people with certain skills, who’ve had some background in Bible translation or theological education.”



Header and story images courtesy of unfoldingWord.