"Here is your Bible!" Bible Society of Cameroon General Secretary Luc Gnowa said to the 5,000 Musgum Christians gathered at the launch of the very first Musgum Bible in the town of Pouss in Cameroon, on May 28, 2016.

Last year, Bible Societies across the world assisted in the completion of translations in 61 languages spoken by over 428 million people, according to the latest Global Scripture Access Report from the Untied Bible Societies.

The Scottish Bible Society is a founding member of the United Bible Societies (UBS) – a network of Bible Societies operating in over 200 countries and territories around the world who believe the Bible is for everyone and are working towards the day when everyone can access the Bible in the language and medium of their choice.

Thanks to the prayers and financial gifts from our supporters, we are reaching further with God’s Word.

First Bible translations

 Therèse Yelemou Zan holds her copy of the newly-launched San Bible in Burkina Faso.

Therèse Yelemou Zan holds her copy of the newly-launched San Bible in Burkina Faso.

2016 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 30 languages, spoken by over 95 million people.

  • 17 communities now have their very first Bible;
  • 6 communities now have their very first New Testament; and
  • 7 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

Commenting on the UBS Global Scripture Access Report for 2016, which was released to the public at the end of April, Alexander M. Schweitzer, Head of Global Bible Translation at UBS, said:

Pursuing our mission to help people access the Bible in their heart language, United Bible Societies in 2016 has provided first translations as well as new translations and revisions for over 60 language communities. This is an incredible privilege as well as a continuing challenge. Please pray for the Bible translators and the teams supporting them, so that 2017 will also bring significant progress in this vital mission.
Alexander M. Schweitzer, United Bible Societies Head of Global Bible Translation

 The Rev Kaitara Metai buried his original manuscripts for the Kiribatese Bible in the sand when Kiribati was invaded by the Japanese during the Second World War. 2016 saw the launch of a new revision of the Kiribati Bible.

The Rev Kaitara Metai buried his original manuscripts for the Kiribatese Bible in the sand when Kiribati was invaded by the Japanese during the Second World War. 2016 saw the launch of a new revision of the Kiribati Bible.

Revisions

Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today.

In 2016, this resulted in a further 28 new translations and revisions plus 3 study editions with the potential to reach over 333 million people.

For full details, read the 2016 Global Scripture Access Report on the UBS website.

Scripture Access Today

Whilst we celebrate progress in 2016, the challenge of making the Bible available in every language continues.

Currently, 6,880 languages in the world are spoken by over 7.4 billion people*.  648 languages (spoken by over 5.1 billion people) now have a complete Bible and a further 1,432 languages (spoken by 657 million people) have a New Testament.

However, this leaves 434 million people with only some portions of Scripture and a further 253 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.

2016 Bible translation stats

Transformational impact

As Bible Societies and partner agencies across the world strive to make God’s Word available in every language, please give thanks to God for Bible translators and their remarkable work.

To see an example of the transformational impact of Bible translation, read about the 5,000 Kapsiki speakers in Cameron who braved danger to welcome their new Bible.

Please join us in prayer as we ask God to help us in our mission to make the Word of God available in every language.


*Figures as at 31.12.2016. We thank Bible Societies, Wycliffe Global Alliance and progress.BibleTM for their help in compiling these statistics. 6880 languages (7099 languages less 219 languages with no reported first language speakers – Ethnologue). Figures for the number of first language speakers are based on the best available data, which in 2016 totalled 6.5 billion, less than the actual world population of over 7.4 billion.