Reaching a milestone in global Bible translation
In August, the number of languages with the full Bible topped 700 for the first time; it was a significant milestone for global Bible translation that provided a rare moment of celebration during a difficult year.
At the start of 2021, the full Bible is now available in 704 languages used by 5.7 billion people. More than 70% of these full Bible translations have been provided by United Bible Societies.
Another 825 million people have the New Testament in their language, and 450 million people have some portions of Scripture.
The Bible translation landscape looked very different 75 years ago, when United Bible Societies was first formed in the wake of World War II, in 1946. According to ProgressBible, which compiles data from Bible translation agencies across the world, fewer than 200 languages had the full Bible, just over 230 had the New Testament, and 620 had Scripture portions. The number of languages with some Scripture has more than tripled since then.
And yet, today, despite this progress, more than half of the world’s 7,359 languages have no Scripture at all. All together, 1.5 billion people still do not have the full Bible in their language.
“As we look back at more than two centuries of Bible Society work and 75 years of working together as United Bible Societies, we give thanks to God for blessing our common mission of making the Bible available to everyone,” says UBS Director General Michael Perreau. “Each completed Scripture translation makes it possible for more people to access the hope and peace in God’s Word, which is especially needed at this time of global turmoil.
“Yet more than a billion people still do not have the Bible in their own language. They are without the comfort of Scripture as they navigate the storms of life. That is why the task of Bible translation is so urgent.”