The Word in Your Native Tongue

One of the goals of contemporary Christianity is to translate the Bible into every possible language. It’s a desire that flows from the Great Commission in which Jesus tells us to go make disciples of all nations. We see Bible translation as a way to ensure that everyone has access to becoming one of Christ’s disciples.

Yesterday, I ran across a fascinating article yesterday that Lausanne Pulse published a few years ago about the history of Bible translation. In the article they mention that the Bible spent the first 1500 years of Christianity in only 35 languages. It wasn’t until the Reformation that Christians started focusing on Bible translation. Yet despite that renewed focus, it took the organization of the Bible Societies in the 1800s for Christians for it to really take off.

The following is a conglomeration of two charts from the Lausanne Pulse article, Bible Translation in a New Millennium:

Year  Translated Languages
1499 35 languages
1799 an additional 59 languages
1899 an additional 446 languages
1949 an additional 667 languages
2006 an additional 1196 languages
  Total: 2403 languages

I don’t have much commentary on this other than to say that it’s just amazing to see how we’ve doubled the number of languages the Bible can be read in in the past seventy years! Yet, even though we’ve made such great progress in the past few hundred years, there are still about 4,000 languages to go.

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