30 September - World Bible Translation Day

30 September every year marks the World Bible Translation Day. The first Bible Translation Day was proclaimed by the U.S. Congress over 30 years ago in 1966 as requested by a group of linguistic scholars at the Universities of Oklahoma, North Dakota, Washington, Michigan, Indiana, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and many other places. 30 September also marks the day the first translator of the Old and New Testaments, Saint Jerome, died.

This is an important day for Bible translators worldwide, World Bible Translation Day allows them to highlight Bible translation as an on going need and basic tool in global evangelism.

One of the world’s most important Bible translation organisations - Wycliffe Associates, celebrates the special day by reviewing the history and progress of Bible translation, as reported by the Mission News Network.

President of Wycliffe Associates Bruce Smith says, “Current research indicates that there are 6,819 unique languages spoken in the world today. But, out of that number we’re currently estimating that approximately 2,700 do not have one verse translated in Scripture in their language.”

This means that more than 380 million people are still waiting for God’s Word to be written in their own language.

Since the first complete translation of the Bible into English by the English man, John Wycliffe in England, many versions of translation have been circulated across Europe and the world. However, nowadays, the need for Bible translation is still very great.

Smith explained that Communism and Terrorism threatens Christianity in this era, so the word of God is the ultimate tool to change the life and the world.

Smith said, “One of the things that the currently political and religious environment of our world reminds us is that it’s essential for us to get the truth of the Gospel into every language and every culture, because ultimately that is the issue that’s going to transform people’s hearts and mind and lives.”

Smith reported about the challenge of reaching out to the place where terrorism is active. Dozens of translation teams in various parts of the world have had to be either relocated temporarily or permanently in order to avoid security concerns.

“We’ve had to increase our contingency planning, back them up with emergency funds, infest in additional security precautions like communications. All of those thing unfortunately have increased the cost of Bible translation around the world,” he continued.

Despite of all the difficulties, the Wycliffe Associates proudly announced, “We're growing at a rate of 60-percent per year, in terms of our global volunteer involvement.” Currently, more than 1,200 people are now serving in 27 countries around the world and it is approaching to 2,000 as projected by the current growth rate.

Today, the Summer Institute of Linguistics and Wycliffe Bible Translators work together to translate Scripture, train field personnel in linguistics and promote interest in translation. Over 500 translations have been completed, and over a thousand more are in the process. Wycliffe Associates have invited more new translator to join this meaningful ministry.

In a ceremony that the United States Senate passed as the World Bible Translation Day, William Cameron Townsend, the Founder and Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators gave a speech, "The language barrier is difficult to overcome. But it must be done. The Holy Spirit, speaking through John says, ‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.’ (Rev.7:9 NIV, emphasis added) We believe God has called us to help make this verse come true.”

Today Wycliffe is trying its very best to carry on this great commission.