Scripture exists in over 2500 of the 6860 languages used on Earth. About 4.7 billion people have a Bible available in their first language, a further 542 million people have at least the New Testament (but not all of the Old Testament).
Work has begun for many of the people groups who still do not have God’s Word in their language and further work is still needed in many of the languages that already have some Scripture. Of the remaining languages with no known Scripture or a translation program in progress, current estimates suggest around 340 million people speaking 2078 languages may have a need for Bible translation to begin.
Wycliffe, a global alliance of organizations with staff from more than 50 nations, is one of the key international organizations involved with Scripture translation into languages where it has not previously been available. Since Wycliffe’s beginnings in 1942, Wycliffe personnel have been involved in the translation of 745 complete New Testaments and 27 complete Bibles, potentially impacting around 114 million people speaking 704 languages.
Since Wycliffe began, Wycliffe personnel have also worked with others in the production of Faith Comes By Hearing audio Scriptures in 211 languages, The JESUS Film in 225 languages, some or all of the Luke video in 237 languages and some or all of the Genesis video in 86 languages. Wycliffe personnel have also helped produce thousands of resources for literacy, education, health and other development-related goals.
The 45 Wycliffe organizations are responsible for approximately 6500 affiliated staff working alongside many partner organizations, individuals from local communities and national organizations working in languages from 98 countries.
In 1999, when Wycliffe and partners adopted Vision 2025, we reported our involvement in almost 1100 of the 1500 translation programs known to be in progress. Between 1999 and 2010 Wycliffe personnel have helped in the translation of more than 200 New Testaments and begun new work in more than 670 languages.
Wycliffe staff are currently involved in 1525 active language programs representing 2.6 billion people. Additional work is being undertaken by other organizations in a further 500 languages.
There are many other numbers we could report on and many we don’t know. We do not have a count of how many lives have been touched and transformed as a result of Bible translation and all the other work that is done. We do not have a figure for the number of people who have prayed or given financially so that others might give their time and sometimes their lives.
We speak on behalf of millions of lives that only God can count when we say, “Thank you!”