Over 700 languages now have a complete Bible

(Photo: Unsplash/Aaron Burden)

The number of languages with a complete translation of the Bible has broken through the 700 barrier, according to the latest figures from Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The entire Bible is now available in over 704 languages, while 1,551 have a complete translation of the New Testament. A further 1,160 languages have a portion of the Bible translated. 

James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: "These are encouraging figures, and show how the task of translating the Scriptures into the world's languages is making significant progress, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

"We are so thankful to God for his ongoing provision for and blessing on the work of Bible translation in these difficult times." 

The work of translating God's word has continued in spite of the upheaval this year from the coronavirus pandemic. While some teams have managed to continue working face-to-face, others have moved their work online with the help of state-of-the-art translation software.

"Seeing how translation teams have adapted to their new circumstances in order to keep the work going is truly inspirational. Crucially, it means that we are still making good progress in getting the Scriptures to those who do not have them in their language," Poole said. 

The 704 languages with a complete Bible translation encompass around six billion people around the world, leaving around 1.5 billion without a Bible in their own language. 

Current projections estimate that in the next 15 years, all people groups will have at least some portion of Scripture available in their own language, while 95% will have a complete Bible, and 99.95% will have a New Testament. 

Poole continued: "Each new translation is exciting because it means more people are able to access the Scriptures in the language that speaks to them best. That accessibility is key to helping people truly comprehend the gospel message – and to seeing lives transformed by Jesus, which is what the work of Wycliffe is really all about.

"We are fast approaching a key milestone in world history. These projections provide fresh inspiration and motivation for people to get involved in the work of Bible translation.

"As an organisation, Wycliffe remains committed to the urgent and long-term work of achieving these aims, and continues to work so that the Bible might be accessible to all people in their own languages."