the shape of leadership

Few Churchgoers Grasp the Scope of Bible Translation

Barna survey reveals knowledge gap

Influence Magazine on April 30, 2018

About 70 percent of churchgoing adults in the U.S. say that not having a Bible in one’s native language could be a barrier to becoming a Christian, a recent Barna report reveals. Yet many lack an understanding of the scope of Bible translation work.

According to the report, Translating the Great Commission, there are about 7,099 living languages in the world today. Complete Bibles (all 66 books) are available in only about 670 languages, while 3,787 languages have no known published translations of any portion of Scripture.

Meanwhile, churchgoers, on average, believe there are 100 world languages and that Bible translations are available in half of those. Seventeen percent of churchgoers believe the Bible is available in all the world’s languages and that there is no translating work remaining.

In reality, roughly 220 million people around the world have no Bible translation available in their native language, Barna says.

Most churchgoers have at least heard of the work of translating Scripture. About 30 percent said they had heard about it in a sermon, while 41 percent had heard about it in a small group, Bible study or church classroom setting.

Perhaps it’s time for church leaders to revisit the topic in their sermons, classrooms and small groups — challenging attendees to support and pray for this vast, vital and ongoing work of Bible translation.


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