Access to the Bible

Access to the Bible April 21, 2015

So what percentage of the world’s 6,101 languages do you think have translations of the Bible?  WRONG (probably)!

The Barna Group has conducted a study of Americans’ perceptions of how accessible the Bible is globally.  Most Americans think the Bible is more available than it really is.   See the findings–as well as the correct statistics–after the jump.

From Americans’ Perceptions of the Bible’s Global Reach – Barna Group:

Of the world’s 6,101 languages actively used as first languages, less than half have a complete translation of the Bible. If this number surprises you, you aren’t alone. Nearly three-quarters of Americans mistakenly believe the Bible is currently available in all of the world’s languages (72%).

In fact, only two in 10 adults recognize there are still languages in the world without a Bible translation (21%).

In a recent survey, conducted in partnership with the American Bible Society, Barna Group discovered that, while most Americans support—and advocate for—global access to the Bible, they are largely unaware of how much work remains to be done in order to give every person access to the Bible in his or her own language.

Nearly all Americans—98%—believe people should have access to the Bible. And indeed, most people in America not only have access to the Bible, but they also own a Bible. Nearly nine in 10 American households report having at least one Bible, with the average household owning four copies. Of course, ownership does not equal readership; three out of five Americans say they want to read the Bible more (60%).

Much of the globe, however, does not enjoy such free access. More than half of the world’s languages still do not have a completed Bible translation (57%). Three in 10 active first languages do not have even a translation begun in that language (31%). An additional one-quarter have only segments of Scripture completed, with more portions in the translation process (26%).

[Keep reading. . .]

I’m curious how many people do not have the Bible in their languages.  (Some of these languages are spoken by tiny numbers.)  Also, how many people do not have the Bible in a language that they understand.  (Those whose native language is spoken by a very few tend to be multi-lingual, so that they may have access to a Bible after all.)

Bible translators speak about the “heart” language, the one people grew up speaking and how translations into that language have a stronger impact.  So I am by no means minimizing the value of translating God’s Word into all of these languages.  I’m just saying that it would be helpful to have some of these other statistical breakdowns.

HT:  Paul McCain

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