At CCBS, partnerships are a small part of the ministry work that we seek to do. Strategically we consider each partnership’s lasting impacts on the long-term ministry of the students at CCBS. Recently we partnered with Wycliffe Associates and implemented a new degree track, The Master of Arts in Bible Translation. We also offer a certificate in Bible Translation for students not interested in a degree track. These pathways provide students with an interdisciplinary knowledge of translation studies, biblical studies, and theology.
Who was John Wycliffe?
In 1917, a missionary named William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles. However, most shockingly, many people couldn’t understand the Spanish books that he brought with him. The people spoke Cakchiquel, a language without a Bible. Cam believed everyone should understand the Bible. As a result, he started a linguistics school (the Summer Institute of Linguistics, known today as SIL) that trained people to do Bible translation. The work continued to grow, and in 1942 Cam officially founded Wycliffe Bible Translators. The two organizations are sister organizations but also very distinct.
After that, in 1999, the Wycliffe leaders realized that it would be at least 2150 before Christians could translate the Bible into every language. Unfortunately, this translation rate was not the rate that they envisioned. They felt an immediate burden to get the Good News of the gospel to everyone globally as soon as possible. They felt God calling them to adopt a new goal for accomplishing this mission. Their leaders committed to doing everything they could to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language, still needing more by 2025. Currently, at least 2,000 languages still need a Bible translation started, and Wycliffe is working faster than ever to reach those languages as soon as possible.
How can you help to advance this mission?
First, pray and consider if Bible translation is your calling. Secondly, if you feel the Lord leading you to pursue this degree reach out to us. Finally, we will partner interested CCBS students with Wycliffe Associates to get the training they will need to complete this project. CCBS’s program is unique, and there is no other program quite like it.
Most importantly, Dr. Drew Curley, the director of the Bible translation program at CCBS, says;
I recommend the MABT program at CCBS. The partnership between CCBS and Wycliffe Associates is having a global impact. We are helping to serve the training needs of those working in Bible translation. When CCBS started this program, there was no other graduate program offered specifically in translation theory. Most other training tracks train people in linguistics. This track is only one small part of Bible translation. Apart from any other program, people from Wycliffe Associates engage in fieldwork and teach courses. They are subject matter experts. The course content remains up to date with current trends in the field.
Bible translation is not a completed task.
Of the approximately 7,360 languages globally, less than 10% of those languages have a complete Bible. For many, this is shocking news. We often think of Bible translation globally as a complete or near-completed task. Bible translation has accelerated in the past few years thanks to Wycliffe Associates’ vision of Bible translation. By recognizing the local church’s value and mother-tongue translators, translators completed 427 New Testaments in the last five years. To meet the growing need to train Bible translators, this is why Wycliffe Associates and CCBS partnered together to help grow the global body of Christ by increasing our students’ knowledge of the Bible, theology, and translation theory.
“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” Psalm 102:18
Moreover, everything we are doing in this program focuses on the idea in this verse. We invest in Bible translation to invest in other people. People who we might not know and who we cannot see. We know that the Lord will use the work we do in service of Him to bring people to saving faith in Christ. We do all this for His honor and glory! For Bible translators, this means learning about how to rightly divide the word of truth and to accurately translate the Scriptures so that people will praise the Lord! We want the Lord to hear songs of praise in all 7,360 languages.