500 unreached villages in India rapidly accepted the Gospel when missionaries first visited. Some of these villages had no ongoing access to the word of God after the missionaries left. Missionaries returned to some of the other villages and gave the villagers an audio Bible in their heart language. Missionaries encouraged those villages to choose a leader to lead weekly meetings where they read the Word of God. Over the next few years, missionaries returned to visit the villages. In the villages without the Bible, only 2% of those who had accepted Jesus remained believers. In the villages with Bibles, they saw a multiplication with 200% as many believers as they started with!
In 1454 the Bible was first printed on the Gutenberg press. The revolutionary effect of God’s word being released in print for the first time sparked the release of scripture translations in eight European languages. The transformational power of this historic release of scripture resulted in reformation, revival, and spiritual, industrial and political revolutions far beyond European shores.
Widespread application of biblical knowledge sparked massive social change for countries like Norway and Switzerland. In three generations these nations shifted from being among the least free nations in Europe, with rampant poverty, to prosperous and free nations.
New understanding took root on how God values the downtrodden and desires freedom for the oppressed. Slavery was abolished in the UK 1833, as well as in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world by 1865. Voting became a right for men of all races (1870 in US) and finally for women (1920 in US, 1928 in UK).
Corruption became the exception in many nations that had been transformed by application of Biblical values across the spheres of society. These trends continue today where God’s word and principles are being applied.
The Bible has become the most translated, accessible, and accurate literary work of all time with over 550 complete translations currently available. 80% of the world’s population can now read the New Testament in their mother tongue.
Still, as many as 1624 language groups have no access to God’s Word in their heart language. But innovations in language and translation techniques are accelerating the release of many new translations.
Oral language groups are now being empowered to write and read through Uniskript – an innovative writing system developed at YWAM Kona that can be applied to any language. Uniskript is now enabling illiterate peoples to read in less than two weeks.
Oral Bible translation projects enacted by YWAM ministries are providing written word translators with key linguistic knowledge. YWAM outreach teams are putting existing translations in the hands of local translators, who are being trained in the practical application of modern technology to translate scripture accurately and effectively.
For the 700 languages groups in Africa alone that still need translations in their heart language, these innovations bring hope that ending Bible poverty is attainable soon.
Along with translation efforts, distribution of scripture is also accelerating since the advent of the internet and massive growth of mobile technology. Over 900 Bible translations are already freely available – even in developing nations.
Peer-to-peer distribution is being used by YWAMers to transmit the Word of God via wifi, bluetooth and micro SD cards – including in some of the most closed nations on earth. God is rallying believers from all nations to get His word out like never before. If Bible translations in just eight languages resulted in such enormous growth, prosperity, and innovation worldwide, what will happen with the release of 1624 more translations of the Bible?
To be a part of this worldwide movement to eradicate Bible poverty, you can: