Scripture poverty in Iran spurs indigenous Bible translation

By December 8, 2021

Iran (MNN) — The Iranian government is among the most oppressive regimes globally. More about that here.

Good thing God’s at work! “It is impossible not to be passionate about what God is doing in Iran. God is doing something enormously amazing! Over a million Muslims in Iran have come to Christ. The harvest is plenty, and millions more are waiting,” Pastor Lazarus* says.

“But this is the catch: if we don’t have the Word of God in their soul languages, this excitement will vanish into thin air in a generation or two.”

Pastor Lazarus leads a ministry partnering with unfoldingWord in Iran. Although there is a Bible in Farsi, it won’t help millions of ethnic Iranians. “If you don’t have the Word of God in their language, they cannot read and study,” Pastor Lazarus explains.

“Iranian culture is a tapestry. There are over 74 different ethnic-background Iranians. [The] majority speaks Farsi, but the soul language is different. Sadly, [the] Word of God does not exist in these languages.”

God’s Word for Iran

With help from unfoldingWord, Iranian believers translate John’s Gospel account into five ethnic languages: Luri, Laki, Gilaki, Bakhtiari, and Qashqai. Church leaders chose to begin with John because its claims contradict basic Islamic teachings.

(Photo courtesy of michael Bayazidi/ Pexels)

“For the Muslim, everything is about Allah. Quran was in the heart of Allah; [it] came down to the bosom of Muhammad and was given to humanity as a gift. It is the word,” Pastor Lazarus says.

“We chose the Gospel of John because it shakes a Muslim. He says either the Gospel of John is correct, or Quran is correct; both of them cannot be equal.”

Many of Iran’s ethnic languages are oral, lacking written form and structure. “We have done a dramatization” of John, Pastor Lazarus says, and “it’s going to be aired on TransWorld Radio, beaming across Iran.”

Find your place in the story

Contact unfoldingWord to learn how you can best support this project. “Brothers and sisters, if you’re interested in what is happening in the Middle East, particularly in Iran, please partner with us,” Pastor Lazarus says.

“We hope that [beginning with] the New Testament, the whole Bible will be produced in these ethnic languages. This is not only translating the Word of God; this is outreach [and] theological formation,” he continues.

“This is making the Church take root and withstand temptations in the future.”





Header image is a representative stock photo depicting a man and four women in Qom, Iran. (Photo courtesy of Javad Esmaeili/Pexels)