This is an exciting moment for Bible translation in Africa! Consistent support from dedicated friends like you over the last two decades is reaching fulfillment in the release of four new Bible translations. Now, more than 130 million people will be able to truly study and understand God’s Word for themselves.
Three of these translations are languages spoken mostly in Nigeria, a nation facing many challenges today. Nigeria lost nearly an entire generation to the AIDS epidemic. Today, Africa’s most populous nation is also one of its youngest, with 60% of people under age 25.
Islamic extremists have sought to exploit this young population. Poverty and corruption are everywhere, and many young men are open to the messages of terrorist groups like Boko Haram, which give them a violent outlet for their anger. Christians, who live mainly in the south, often face persecution from Islamic extremists, who live mainly in the north. Millions of Nigerians have been displaced by terrorism.
As Nigeria’s population continues to grow, it’s set to become the world’s fourth most populous nation by 2050. This makes it a place of great strategic importance to the future of West Africa and to the continent as a whole. And thanks to your support of these new, contemporary translations released in print, digital, and audio formats, the Church will have a stronger foundation to combat the hopelessness that often leads young people to join radical groups.
Here are the four new translations you’ve made possible for 2020:
Location: Nigeria (primary), Benin, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, and Togo
Speakers: 60+ million
Hausa is the largest language group in Nigeria, and a majority of Hausa speakers are Muslim, including the members of Boko Haram. A contemporary Hausa translation has become a critical necessity for evangelism in Nigeria and across West Africa, so that Muslims can study God’s Word and so that we can translate Scripture resources geared to answer their questions. Given that more than half of Nigeria’s population is under 25, it’s also essential to release the new Bible in digital format to reach the rising generation where they are.
Speakers: 42 million
The Yoruba live in southwest Nigeria. They first received a Bible in 1900, which was revised just over 100 years later. However, this revised version still uses the old orthography (spellings and word forms), which makes it very difficult for younger people to understand. After 25 years of work, the contemporary Yoruba translation is ready at last to encourage Yoruba-speaking Christians and help them reach their neighbors.
Speakers: approx. 6 million
The Ibibio are regarded as the most ancient of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria, and nearly 100% of them are Christians. Yet, surprisingly, they have never had a written Bible of their own … until now! After more than 20 years of work, we are set to release the very first Ibibio New Testament this year. Pray with us that having God’s Word to read and explore in their own language will lead to great deepening of their faith, which can sometimes be mixed with the animism of the past.
Speakers: 20 million
Asante Twi is the most popular language in Ghana and, within the last decade, has become a trade language throughout the country. Christianity is strong in the Ashanti region, and many denominations and churches conduct their services in Asante Twi. However, they’ve been hampered by the fact that existing Asante Twi translations don’t reflect changes to the language in recent years. This easy-to-read translation will aid Bible study and evangelism.