Persecuted South Asian Christians translate New Testament

By March 20, 2023

South Asia (MNN) – Christians gathered in a South Asian country recently for a special celebration. Bible translators working with Wycliffe Associates completed the first New Testament in a minority people group’s heart language.

Tony Tophoney, Director of Field Training for Wycliffe Associates, says, “And it was a joyous celebration when the Word was finally distributed to the people in a language that they could read and speak fluently.”

Wycliffe Associates provides the tools and training national Christians need to translate Scripture into their own language. According to a 2022 report by Wycliffe Global Alliance, about 20% of the world’s population lack a full Bible in their first language. By empowering local church communities, translation projects are moving forward faster than ever before to close the gap.

Even so, translation still involves many hurdles. The translation team in South Asia that recently completed the New Testament is part of a persecuted ethnic and religious minority. As they worked on translation, they faced challenges from the larger Buddhist and Muslim groups around them. Their work was further complicated by poverty and poor infrastructure.

“They’ve got to overcome so many obstacles, that it’s a miracle that any translation gets done there.”

“But by the grace of God, it does, and it’s only through the prayer,” says Tophoney.

Wycliffe Associates has encouraged the translation team to not lose momentum before finishing the whole Bible.

“They’re excited about moving forward with it,” says Tophoney. “And you know, in my heart, I just know they’re going to do it. They’re going to have the Old Testament.”

But continuing the translation will require more training, prayer, and financial support.

“Join us in prayer for these brave souls who are really serving Christ, in some cases being martyred, for the cause of Bible translation in their area,” says Tophoney.

You can help with this and other translation projects through Wycliffe Associates. The ministry provides the tools and training necessary for national Christians to translate Scripture into minority languages. New projects are also poised to launch in the same country for other languages still waiting for a Bible translation. Read more here.


Representative photo courtesy of Marjhon Obsioma via Unsplash.

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