Not Just a Book
By Matt Petersen, Wycliffe USA senior editor
“This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth…” Colossians 1:6 (NLT)
Whether we read it or not, you and I have easy access to the Bible in our language. If you do read it, the messages of Scripture likely play an important role in your life, guiding your moral choices and leading you towards God.
But did you know that today, about 350 million people around the world have never had any Scripture in their language? While some of these people are Christians like you and me, struggling to unlock the truths of God’s Word in a language that’s not their own, others live without knowledge of Christ at all.
These 350 million people represent more than two thousand of the world’s languages that don’t have any clear path to God in their language. Wycliffe Bible Translators is here to serve these languages, because everyone deserves to have access to God’s Word. Our mission is to see a Bible translation project started in every language that needs it by the year 2025 . That’s a tall order, but a need this urgent calls for a powerful response.
Although Wycliffe specializes in Bible translation and linguistics, this work is about so much more than just putting words on a page—it’s about removing the language barrier between Christ and those He came to save. Once the message of the Gospel is able to penetrate a person’s heart, it brings total life transformation .
We often think of salvation as the opportunity to join God in Heaven when we die, but the Gospel brings dramatic change on earth, too. This is what total life transformation is all about. Christ modeled this for us when He came to earth offering not only eternal life, but also healing from physical ailments, freedom from oppressive legalism, and restitution of human relationships. He brought hope.
Modeling Christ’s ministry, Wycliffe’s efforts provide more than translated Scriptures alone. Services also include biblically-based resources that bring healing from trauma, prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, and impart good health practices.
Wycliffe is also able to provide literacy training that not only ensures access to the Word of God, but also provides a valuable skill that helps people improve their lives economically and socially.
By documenting and studying a language, translation efforts help ensure the preservation of minority languages and cultures, reinforcing their intrinsic value and strengthening communities.
Wycliffe also works in partnership with many other organizations. For example, ministry partners like The JESUS Film Project and Faith Comes By Hearing rely on Scripture translation for their productions. Through relationships like these and many others, the impact of a Bible translation spreads, ensuring that God’s Word takes root in people’s lives.
Together we’ve made remarkable strides, but much remains to be done . So many efforts depend on the work of Bible translation; so many people wait for the transformation only God’s Word can bring. After all, it’s much more than a book—it’s a relationship.