Despite the debilitating COVID-19 pandemic striking the world in 2020, Wycliffe Associates recorded a record-high number of Bible translations internationally.
Wycliffe Associates interim president Tim Neu was thankful for the strong commitment shared by Bible translators in his ministry to carry out the Great Commission in the midst of new challenges brought upon by the Wuhan coronavirus.
“I’ve been humbled to see how believers in difficult areas – some in places of intense persecution and real danger – have been absolutely unwavering in their dedication to the cause,” Neu stated in a news release issued by Wycliffe Associates.
Through the increased use of technology due to the pandemic – including the prompting of foreign translators to collaborate in the translation and editing processes virtually – the Word of God continued to spread over the past year.
“COVID lockdowns kept Bible translators home, but our online Bible translation system enabled many to continue their work together,” Neu explained.
Neu was encouraged that the coronavirus did not slow or shut down many Bible translators – the way it did countless churches and economies around the world.
“[Bible translation] has actually accelerated [for some Bible translators during the pandemic – rather than slowed down], Neu reported, according to The Christian Post (CP).
No stopping anytime soon …
For nearly 65 years, Wycliffe Associates’ mission of translating God’s Word into every language across the Earth has resulted in the New Testament now appearing in 141 languages and in eight languages in the Old Testament, but the nonprofit Christian organization is far from done.
“Wycliffe [Associates] has 773 Bible translations in progress and has acquired requests from 273 language groups in need of launching more translations of God’s Word in 2021,” ChristianHeadlines.com reported. “Typically, it takes $19,500 to create a Bible translation in a new language.”
The blind and deaf see and hear the Word
In addition to overcoming language and pandemic barriers last year, Wycliffe Associates was busy at work making the gospel accessible to the blind and deaf through its release of the SUN (Symbolic Universal Notation) New Testament translation “to provide a pathway to Christ for [approximately 56] million deaf and blind people who have no other way of effectively communicating with the world.”
With Wycliffe Associates noting that approximately 70 million people being born deaf worldwide, the group is eager to make the SUN available to them as a means of education and spiritual birth – especially as “80% of them can’t communicate in their local sign language.”
SUN program director Lori Jenkins was ecstatic to put the Bible into the hands of millions of disabled people who previously had zero access to the Bible.
“Basically, what we have done is taken the New Testament and broken it down into the main concepts of each of the verses and each of the chapters. For each concept, we have created a symbol,” Jenkins told CP last year.