Wycliffe: Bible Translation Statistics

This is part 1 of a 4-part series from Phil Prior of Wycliffe UK, a fine organization whose mission is to bring the word of God to everyone, in every language.

Last year, Wycliffe Bible Translators in the UK commissioned some research of young Christians (those in their 20s and early 30s). One comment sticks in my mind,

“I had worked on the naïve assumption that the Bible was available in every language”.

In the English speaking world it’s pretty easy to assume that everyone must be well catered for when it comes to copies of the scriptures. Go to any church, high street bookstore, or look in the night stand next to your hotel bed and you’ll find a copy of the Bible. However, it’s not the same story around the world, in many countries the Bible doesn’t even exist in a useable language.

There are around 6,909 languages spoken by the 6.5 billion people that inhabit this planet. 2,393 of those languages, reaching approximately 200 million people, don’t have a single word of scripture in their heart language (the language they understand the best). Another 1,185 only have the New Testament and a further 843 only have portions of scripture.

Wycliffe Bible Translators exists to make the translation of scripture possible. It doesn’t always mean that ‘we’ do the translating. In nearly all cases, Wycliffe members will work with nationals, people from the communities, and other organisations, to make translation happen. Currently there are around 1,998 translation programmes in progress (that includes other agencies as well as Wycliffe), reaching 1.2 billion people.


Phil Prior is the Head of Communications for Wycliffe UK. His career was in Higher Education in the UK until Wycliffe made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and he joined them in February 2009. Phil blogs about his life and the things that interest him at http://www.philprior.co.uk/mylife . He can also be found  on Twitter as Phil77.

A list of Wycliffe Bloggers can be found with the Wycliffe UK Blog at http://wycliffe.org.uk/blog/

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6 Replies to “Wycliffe: Bible Translation Statistics”

  1. I am a missionary serving in kenya and beyond. married with one wife and three children we leave in the most villages and reaching the unreached with the gospel of jesus christ.

    We train and plant churches and tranform villages by sharing the love of jesus . we have many challenges lack of the bibles,food,shelter and water but we trust God that he is faithful until the end.

    We need your prayers,
    Missionary Benson

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