USA (MNN) — Half the world lives on less than $2 a day. Right now, that's more than three billion people, but new research suggests the population will hit the seven billion mark within the next two years.
Researchers with the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) also found that the least developed regions, like Africa, Asia and Latin America, are projected to double in population by 2050. PRB, one of the most trusted sources for world population information, recently released these statistics in their 2009 World Population Data Sheet.
International Director for Faith Comes By Hearing Morgan Jackson said that these new figures are troubling because billions of people may never hear the message of hope and truth in God's Word.
"Already, the world's poorest of the poor are cut off from the Bible," said Jackson. "Half of the world's people are illiterate and too poor to afford a Bible. Five of six African believers will never own their own Bible. And when people don't have Scripture in a format they can use and understand, the results can be devastating to villages and whole countries."
Jackson, referring to a recent article in Christianity Today, explained how children in Africa are abandoned and abused after being labeled as witches.
"In Africa, witchcraft is a huge problem," said Jackson. "When people [or children] are labeled as witches, they are beaten, thrown out of their villages, hunted down, sometimes killed, and left with nothing. And it stems from many believers not being established in the faith through the Word of God." He continues,
"The situation in Africa is symptomatic of what happens in cultures where the Word of God has not penetrated hearts. That's what happens all over the world. People will hear and memorize one story or passage and build whole doctrines (or even denominations) on it, and leaders can mislead the people," said Jackson.
"I'm reminded of a story from Ghana where a pastor was unable to read. He had two young men in the church read the Bible for the people, but these men made an agreement to never read any Scripture about adultery or fornication. They used their position to have relations with women, all the while explaining that this was a service to God," said Jackson. "When the Konkomba Audio Bible was heard in the church as a part of the Faith Comes By Hearing listening group, they were immediately found out. One fled, and one repented."
Stories like these clearly illustrate both the need for God's Word in the heart language of the people and in a format they can use.
"Small bits of Scripture may be the only truth they have. They just don't know any different," said Jackson.
"But modern technology is helping overcome centuries-old barriers of poverty, distance, language, illiteracy, and culture. For the first time in history, we have the tools to reach every person in the world with the Word of God — no matter where they are," said Jackson.
One of these tools is the Proclaimer, a self-powered audio player that can be used in the most remote and rugged locations. The Proclaimer's embedded microchip is pre-loaded with the Audio Drama New Testament in the heart languages of the world. Indigenous believers take these life-changing Audio Bibles into their villages and towns and start listening groups. Villagers in groups up to 300 gather around to listen and then discuss what they've heard. By interacting with the Word of God, people come to know and follow the God of the Bible.
Currently, New Testament recordings in more than 397 languages are being used in Bible listening programs in 150 countries. Faith Comes By Hearing's free Audio Bibles are also being used by many well-known ministries for evangelism, discipleship, church planting and leadership development in villages, slums, shanty towns, hospitals, orphanages, house churches, and mega-churches.
Faith Comes By Hearing is working to bring the Word of God to every nation, tribe, language, and people by establishing Bible listening groups. To get involved with this worldwide mission, you can join us in prayer, become an Audio Bible Ambassador, or sponsor a village by supplying a local pastor with God's Word in his people's language.