The Bible Today, an Astonishing Contrast

Back in 2014 I took some teens and young adults to the Passion Conference in Houston. On stage there was a curator from a The American Bible Society who had with her a Bible that was translated by a colonial missionary and published in 1663. It was the 1st Bible to be printed in the Americas, in fact, the 1st to be printed outside of Europe. A Puritan named John Eliot who preached at a church near Boston for 57 years decided his call was also to the Algonquian Indians in the Massachusetts area. John spent 15 years learning their unwritten language. He then translated the entire Bible into their Natick dialect, which is now extinct by the way. At the same time, he began sending requests back to England for funds, paper, a printing press, and ink to be shipped to the colonies. And of course, he also started schools for the Algonquian Indians so they could learn how to read their own language! On a side note, his requests for support of this mission also resulted in the 1st Missionary Society in England.

Eliot’s Indian Bible as it is sometimes called, demonstrates the passion of early colonists to provide the local American Indians with the scriptures. For me, seeing that Bible, this exhaustive labor of love in person, was extremely powerful, humbling, and motivating.

Just let the extent of Eliot’s labor sink in for a moment…

Also, let it sink in that many of the Christians who 1st translated the Bible into English were martyred violently for doing so. Some translators are still being killed today as they take God’s Word to restricted nations where the Bible is forbidden and Christians are violently persecuted.

Additionally, alongside this curator from the American Bible Society, the creator of the You Version Bible app, Bobby Gruenewald from Life Church was also on stage. This App was one of the original apps offered by Apple when they introduced the App Store in 2008. The You Version Bible App came on the heels of a failed website launch, so Gruenewald and the team from Life Church decided to try this new thing called an “App”. It was a hit to say the very least!

As I write, the current total of downloads of the Bible App are over 291,662,000 worldwide, and increasing at a rate of 2 downloads per second! That means by the time you are reading this, that number will have increased significantly. There are 1,588 versions of the Bible in a total of 1,134 languages! Translators are working on additional languages as we speak.

What an unimaginable contrast to the grueling work of colonial translators in the 1600’s, like John Eliot!

I don’t know about you, but when I consider the difficulty and effort endured by John Eliot to bring the Gospel to his neighbors, and then I consider how accessible the Bible is to us today, I am without excuse when it comes to sharing the Gospel with my neighbors.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. And Revelation 7:9-10 says “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Perhaps the Bible App, along with fearless missionaries will be the means by which the Gospel is taken to the remaining unreached people groups and languages in this world… “And then the end will come”. We are invited by God everyday to be used in His mission to save the world… or we can just keep playing computer games and scrolling through Facebook.

To see up-to-date stats visit: You Version

To donate to the translation of the Bible into more languages who don’t yet have access to God’s Word, visit this blog post (from youversion.com): “Make Bible history: Help get God’s Word to people who have never had it”

If you would like to view this presentation at the Passion Conference from 2014 visit here (from 29:33-58:23).


Other Posts You Might Like:

People Don’t Convert People, God Converts People - Mark Kennell

Joseph - Beau Davis

Songfest - Jabbarri Jones

My name is Ana! - Ana Rodriguez

The Parable of the Fearful Christian - Beau Davis

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Children are dismissed during the sermon to attend children's church or classes. Sunday morning adult class times vary.


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