Translation priorities flipped upside down

By January 14, 2013

International (MNN) — Imagine knowing it could be years before you get a copy of God’s Word because your language doesn’t have that many native speakers.

Groups translating the Bible into various languages often tend to start with the largest people groups and work their way down. Smaller language groups can be low on the priorities task list.

But with The Seed Company initiative, Least of These, the priorities list for Bible translation is flipped upside down.

With support from The Bolthouse Foundation, the Least of These initiative is translating Scripture into languages with 10,000 or less native speakers.

Doug Kogler with The Seed Company explains, “As we’ve been doing research, we’ve discovered that many of these 2,000 Bible-less people groups have very few speakers–maybe as few as 1,000-2,000 speakers. So we’re concerned that they not be left behind. We believe that every language on the face of this earth should have access to God’s Word.”

Many of these smaller people groups are concentrated in the Amazon, Papua, the Pacific, and Africa, while others are more scattered.

Kogler shares how one of these small people groups inspired the Least of These initiative. “One of [our ministry partner] leaders was really moved as he read a devotional that was talking about a people group in Brazil. I think there were about 300 speakers–very small language group without God’s Word. The closing line of that devotional was, ‘Who will go and take God’s Word to these people?’”

That started a conversation between The Bolthouse Foundation and The Seed Company. “While we were concerned about all the 2,000 remaining Bible-less language groups, we had not really had any special focus on the very smallest of them,” says Kogler. The Least of These initiative was launched from there.

But reaching the smallest language people groups has its difficulties. “They live in such isolated areas, and sometimes it’s difficult to even get with them and find out really what their needs are, and where we would even start with a translation project!

“Pray that we could have creative contacts and that we could have strategic contacts with these people groups and begin to identify ways that translation could be started,” Kogler says. “We want to recruit a team of prayer partners and funding partners as well.”

You can donate to the Least of These initiative by clicking here. Every gift is matched dollar-for-dollar by The Bolthouse Foundation.

The Seed Company is encouraging whole congregations to join them in their project. You can get those resources, videos, and information for your church here.

Leave a Reply