South Asia (MNN) — The Asian continent accounts for one-third of the world’s spoken languages. One country in South Asia has over 450 languages. People don’t always connect with a Bible in their country’s majority language – so they won’t use it.
For example, “most folks are not going to have strong bilingual abilities,” unfoldingWord CEO David Reeves says.
“So, if the resources are in the national language, they can’t understand them well. [However,] putting God’s Word in their language and allowing them to be in the (translation) process becomes part of the spiritual formation of that community.”
Translating Scripture into minority languages gives more people access to God’s Word. unfoldingWord partners with large church-planting networks to do Church-Centric Bible Translation. More about that here.
“We’re always working with large-scale church planting movements – people that are doing work amongst unreached people groups, pressing into areas where the name of Jesus is unknown,” Reeves says.
“It used to take 10 to 25 years to get a New Testament. All of these are finished in five years or less.”
unfoldingWord’s partner in South Asia just completed New Testament translations in 15 languages and Bible portions in 100 languages. A “cluster” or “batch” approach accelerates believers’ progress.
“They do them (translations) in batches,” Reeves says.
“[In] March of 2019, they did a batch of 12 [languages]. In March 2021, they did a batch of 15 languages that covered about 12 million people.”
Find your place in the story
Praise God for opening doors of opportunity in South Asia so believers can access His Word. “This is the first fruits from church planting efforts. Most of them (the people groups involved in translation efforts) were previously unreached people groups,” Reeves says.
Pray for discernment as local believers begin work on a new translation project.
“The last few years have been very challenging for everyone. It’s even more difficult [in countries] where you don’t have the medical resources or the capacity to handle COVID outbreaks,” Reeves says.
“They keep getting work done despite all the difficulties.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Sajal’s Gallery/Pexels.