For years, Bible translation agencies counted down languages still waiting for Scripture, added up people groups without God’s Word, multiplied impact through creative strategies and grown workforces, and relentlessly imagined ways to do more. They generally worked independently. Networked. Stepped up. Stepped out. Innovated. Accelerated. And learned a lot along the way. All of it incredibly important.
Then, in 2010, a number of Bible translation organizations were challenged to evaluate the outstanding need for Scripture and collectively grieved that, despite their individual efforts, millions of people still lacked access to God’s Word in a language that speaks to their hearts. This deep concern led to the formation of the Every Tribe Every Nation alliance, which would later evolve into illumiNations.
The alliance’s initial focus was simply to create access to the Bible. Thus, the Digital Bible Library (DBL) was created to be the definitive digital Scripture repository, housing electronic versions of all translated Scripture in text as well as other multimedia forms. Today, this repository helps facilitate access to existing translations for people around the world.
With the Digital Bible Library in place, though still a work in progress, illumiNations began pursuing other initiatives related to its mission. In a sense, collaborating to create the DBL proved these translation organizations could all work together. With this ability to collaborate well, illumiNations wanted to go beyond facilitating access to existing translations and work together to accelerate the process of better quality, faster, and cheaper Scripture translation.
illumiNation’s desire was for every person on earth to have access to all of Scripture in a language they think in, dream in and pray in, and to do so with up-to-date translations. The alliance created the “All Access” goal to define their primary effort: that everyone would have some Scripture.
The All Access goal envisioned all people having access to God’s Word by 2033:
- 95% of the global population would have access to a full Bible
- 99.9% would have access to a New Testament
- 100% would have access to at least some portion of the Scripture
- 2 viable Bible translations would be available in the world’s largest 100 languages including key revisions completed in 26 major languages of the world
Bible translation agencies have demonstrated unprecedented unity in driving toward the “All Access” goal. Together, they have created a shared repository for digital and audio texts, adopted a common framework for the task of Bible translation, and are developing a comprehensive “ecosystem” of tools and information. This shared commitment to common operating principles, processes, and outcomes, as well as access to common data, now enables shared planning and implementation.
Through its dynamic website and online presence, illumiNations provides a single point of access for financial partners, churches, translation partners, and the general public to get comprehensive information about Bible translation needs, plans, projects, and products. The alliance provides easy-access reporting for key metrics of Bible translation and translation projects and allows partners to visualize the impact of Bible translation.
The illumiNations exhibit, at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., showcases over 6,000 different languages and sheds light on the sheer scale of Bible translation completed so far, while simultaneously depicting how many people groups remain in Bible poverty. Visitors are invited to touch, read and explore these Scriptures and learn more about the need for Bible translation.
As a Bible translation movement, we are watching the Gospel make unprecedented inroads among unreached people. Expectantly and hopefully, we await the day when everyone has God’s Word in a language they know best. God will have the ultimate victory, drawing all people unto him!
Are you ready to get involved with illumiNations’ goal of ending Bible poverty by 2033? Join millions of other Christians and take the 12 Verse Challenge today.