Information Technology in Missions: Digital Translations

Once the Bible is translated into someone’s language we generally think that the method of distribution is in a book format.  Maybe even with a soft leather, an index, and little tabs on the pages starting new books. This may actually not be the case. Have you considered how God could use digital translations of his Word?

Think for a moment. What device or devices, in the past 10 years, has changed many of our lives? Tablets, smart phones, maybe e-readers? All of these could effect how Bibles are distributed. Around the world these devices are becoming more prevalent. Even in countries that may not come to mind as having this type of technology. I mean think about it. When it comes to phones is it easier to setup a vast array of telephone lines, circuits, nodes, etc or to setup multiple cell towers with cell phones? Simple wireless is almost always easier than wired when it comes to infrastructure.

Wycliffe Bible Translators provides many different versions of God’s Word to YouVersion. You may have heard of it. It is a very popular app. It is a Bible app for your mobile device, tablet, or even in a web browser. It lets you view many different translations of God’s Word and even allows one to make notes, share Scripture, and highlight those verses that stand out to a person. A great application! If you have never used it then you are missing out.

By providing digital translations of God’s Word, people have much more ready access to it. To read. To share. To memorize. To apply to their lives. After all how often do you leave your phone behind? Currently as of this writing YouVersion has 600 Bible versions for 375 different languages 1, and that number has continued to grow!

However it does not end there. An alliance between several Bible translation organizations, Every Tribe Every Nation was founded with the purpose of collaborating and making available copies of digital translations. The founding members include, American Bible Society, Biblica, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. By working together these organizations can better supply digital copies of God’s Word in many different languages! Why is this important? I think they answer this best (my own emphasis):

Digital translations of the Bible can’t wait. Modern technology has expanded into nearly every corner of the globe. Our world is truly connected, networked together with cell phones, tablets, and digital devices. People everywhere have the means to receive and engage with Scripture—right in the palm of their hands. 2

So as you can see this can be a HUGE way to get God’s Word into people’s hands and help them to hide it away in their hearts.

How can we pray for digital translations?

  1. Pray God would continue to give managers, developers, designers, and layout professionals wisdom, understanding, and new ideas.
  2. Praise God for being able to use technology to spread his Word and the great response to using his Word in this way!
  3. Pray that God would provide resources to keep this effort before people.

Related Articles:


1) http://blog.youversion.com/2013/08/the-bible-app-around-the-world/
2) http://everytribeeverynation.org/resources/faq.php

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About David

I was born in Mississippi, the child of a pastor / Christian radio host (Dad) and a homemaker (Mom). Some of my fondest childhood memories were spending time with family while taking apart electronic devices.