An innovative Bible translation platform is connecting previously unreached people groups to the Word of God at a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost.
The ministry called unfoldingWord works with missionaries who are seeking to plant churches in remote areas but lack access to Bible translations in the languages spoken in those areas.
The organization has created the Church-Centric Bible Translation (CCBT) program to give churches in these communities the content, technology tools, and training resources to translate the Bible.
For example, there are 17 million people who live in the African country of Chad, but over nine million speak languages other than the dominant Chadian Arabic. Through its Chadian Arabic Gateway Language project, unfoldingWord is equipping translators to translate the Bible for 78 unreached people groups.
Jeremiah, a church planter in Chad, began to use unfoldingWord’s software to translate stories for an Muslim village located in a remote area.
Then Jeremiah and his team took an audio-visual Open Bible Stories slide presentation into a community known to be hostile to Christians.
“The king in that region was known for using the occult to manipulate and oppress people. He was also hostile to Christianity and made life difficult for anyone interested in it,” unfoldingWord’s website explains.
Jeremiah first took the audio-visual Bible to the villagers who had no idea who Jesus was. He also shared the Gospel with the village chief who was sick.
“A boldness filled my spirit,” Jeremiah recalled. “And I said, ‘King, may I pray for you?’ He said yes, and I held his hand.”
“I began to pray, and then had an even stronger moving in my spirit to present Jesus to him as Savior,” he said. “I told him, ‘You are the king, but you have someone who is the King of kings. If you believe, he will help you now.'”
“The king believed! Then, we led him in prayer, and he confessed Jesus as his Lord and Savior. And God healed him,” Jeremiah continued. “It was a very powerful experience.”
That chief is now pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ.
“Reaching out to this group has a lot of risks attached to it,” unfoldingWord’s Dane Skelton told Mission News Network.
“But Jeremiah and his team, in the Spirit of God and with great boldness, decided to take a long journey and share Open Bible Stories with this group,” he explained.
David Reeves, a leader with Church-Centric Bible Translation, says the platform is helping to speed up evangelism efforts.
“People come to Christ and understand the Bible in a much deeper way than ever before. The Word of God as alive and active was demonstrated in an extraordinary way,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Christian Post.
He continued, “When the Church takes responsibility for its own Bible translation, God’s power is released, and the church is built up and strengthened.”