What priority for Bible translation

If you like my light and funny posts. Sorry, this is not one of them.

Bible translation is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. So, it is a very good thing to ask what priority it should have. Maybe there are other activities that would better advance the Gospel. So, who would know the answer to a question like that? It would have to be someone who knows about all kinds of Christian missions so that they could be compared. There is more than one place we could go to find such a person. The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism is a pretty good one.  They get comments from Christians around the world.

A guy working with them, Paul  Eshleman, wrote an Advance Paper for their 2010 worldwide meeting. He looked at the parts of the world that are unreached (unevangelized) and the most common kinds of mission: evangelism, discipleship, church planting, compassion ministries (such as for droughts, earthquakes, etc.), and so on. He came up with the top ten missions activities needed to evangelize the world. Here they are.

1. Scripture translation, distribution and use
2. Engaging unreached people groups
3. Evangelism
4. Reaching oral learners
5. Church planting and presence
6. Prayer and unity
7. Compassionate ministry
8. Confession and repentance
9. Mobilization of people and resources
10. Research, mapping and reporting

Do not mistake the opinion of this expert for God’s leading. God will call some people to give to or serve in the lowest priority items on this list, or in ministries that are not on the list. The right way to use this list is to pray over it and ask God what he wants you to do with the information. If you already support Bible translation or another of the ministries in this list, be encouraged!

For those of you who enjoy a bit of analysis, here is a nice graphic from the paper showing how various kinds of ministry fit together:

You can read Mr. Eshleman’s Advance Paper at:


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2 thoughts on “What priority for Bible translation

  1. Ed, I totally agree with you that it is about where God is calling you to serve. It is too easy to fall into the trap of prioritizing per the wisdom of man. It is also easy to think that because “this is the ministry I deem important ….you should too.” But our ministry flows out from what body part we are in the body of Christ. How can a mouth demand that a foot talk and a foot demand that a mouth walk? Every one of us is necessary for the health of the whole and every one is gifted to do precisely what God is pleased to have him/her do.

    I am excited for the work you are doing!


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