Where We Do Bible Translation—and Why

Posted on: 
October 1, 2020

The Word of God is precious in any language. With spiritual poverty evident all around the world, how do All-Nations teams decide where to focus their efforts?

No Scripture

Several hundred thousand people in Indonesia speak Sungai,* but no Scripture has been translated into their language. Globally, there are over 2,000 languages with no Scripture. Many of them, like the Yoloxochitl Mixtec of southern Mexico, are small groups. And too many—both large and small—have no established church and no known followers of Jesus.

No Old Testament

Scattered along tributaries of the mighty Amazon River are Yagua-speaking villages in need of a Gospel witness. Only 25% of the Bible is available to them: that is, the New Testament. Globally, in over 1,500 languages the Old Testament remains untranslated. How can a scriptural church and a scriptural worldview be established with no access to the foundational stories, teachings, warnings, prophecies, and meditations of the Old Testament?

No Faithful Translation

The only Bible available to the Mayangna of Nicaragua is littered with both animistic terms and meaningless terms that don’t communicate to readers. For example, the Holy Spirit is referred to as “Spirit Holi,” adapted from English and not connected to any Mayangna word for “holy” or “spirit.” Does it matter? Sadly, the Mayangna church situation demonstrates that a carelessly translated Bible can contribute to a weak church with contradictory beliefs and practices.

Translation that Serves the Goal

How can Bible translation best serve the goal of a maturing indigenous church?

  • Collaborative effort. Trained team members working with local speakers of the target language.
  • Faithful translation. True to the original-language texts, yet clear in the target-language context.
  • Thorough review. Reviewed by a consultant, and used and tested in the community.
  • Ready access. Portions produced in digital, audio, and print as they become available.

All-Nations pursues Bible translation that serves the long-term goal of a maturing church by faithfully communicating all the Word of God without distortion.

Scripture in the mother tongue is foundational to a maturing church.

*We use a code name for this language.

Click to learn more about Bible translation

  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10