The Gospel spreading to the ends of the earth

Last year marked a five year high for the number of Bible translations launched by the United Bible Societies Fellowship: 90 languages used by 617 million people!

50 of those languages were first ever translations of God’s Word, with a potential reach of 29 million people.

Over the last five years Bible Societies around the world have been responsible for publishing Scripture translations in 270 languages, with a reach of nearly 1.7 billion people.

That’s 20% of the world population who, prior to 2015, would not have had the opportunity to read God’s living Word – and be transformed by it.

The road ahead

These stats come as part of the yearly UBS Translation Report, which details the great strides being made in Bible translation. Bible Societies across the Fellowship are striving to complete 1,200 translations by 2038 – a bold 20 year journey called the Bible Translation Roadmap.

UBS Director General Michael Perreau expressed his gratitude to the many people involved in reaching 270 language translations in just five years:

“The generosity of supporters across the world and the dedication of Bible translators, many of them working in difficult circumstances, has made Scripture available in the languages of an incredible 1.7 billion people over the past five years.

That’s a big number, but what really excites and motivates us is how God will use his Word to transform the lives of individuals, churches and communities.”

New translations bring transformation

One of the new translations was the full Bible in the Ellomwe language, spoken by 2.3 million people in Malawi.

Overjoyed Ellomwe speakers marched around the town of Chiringa, carrying a giant replica of the new Bible to symbolise the arrival of God’s Word in their midst.

On the other side of the world, in Myanmar, translator Rev Thang Ngai Om wept as he held the first Bible in his language – Cho Chin.

Years of travelling long distances between his home and the translation office and taking great risks in crossing flooded rivers in the rainy season had all been worth it, he said through his tears.

“I have seen the Bible in my lifetime, and it’s my legacy for the next generations,” he added.

The day after the official launch, a number of Cho Chin Christians hiked to the peak of Mount Victoria, the highest mountain in Chin State, taking copies of the Cho Chin Bible to lift high in thanks to God.

You can download and read the full UBS Translation Report here.

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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. Together, we are the world’s biggest translator, publisher, and distributor of the Bible. Many Bible Societies are also active in areas such as HIV/AIDS prevention, trauma healing and literacy. Bible Societies work with all Christian Churches and many international non-governmental organisations. For more information visit http://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org.