The head of one of the world's leading Bible translation organizations is excited to see the open door of opportunity to get Scripture in the different heart languages of people living in Papua New Guinea.
The country – which comprises the eastern half of the island of New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific – is home to approximately 12 percent of the world's languages, according to Wycliffe Associates.
Wycliffe Associates President and CEO Bruce Smith explained that the best estimate over the past couple of decades has been that there are 800 unique languages in the country.
However, after having recent conversations with local church leaders in the South Pacific nation, they put the number at two to three times this number – meaning a walloping 1,600 to 2,400 different languages.
"So, it's always been a high, strategic priority for us just because of the language diversity there,” Smith pointed out. “But because of the additional insights that the local churches are now giving us, it's even moving to a higher priority for us."
The Christian leader told OneNewsNow that his organization is training nationals on how to do Bible translation – and he noted that they are picking it up very quickly.
"They're doing really high-quality work,” Smith assured. “they're making great progress, and the enthusiasm is rising as a result of seeing the successes of different language groups that are taking on this initiative.”
He celebrated the fact that the Gospel is now reaching those who previously had no means of reading it.
“So, the Word is spreading around the country,” Smith informed. “The interest in launching new Bible translations is increasing, and so it's kind of an open field of opportunity for us in the coming months."
According to Wycliffe Associates, 30 new Bible translations are in the works to be launched very soon in Papua New Guinea.