A Bible translation organization wants to help bring the Gospel to groups around the world with the smallest number of people whose members speak the same language but have yet to hear God's Word.
The Seed Company, which says it is the fastest-growing Bible translation organization, announced the "Least of These" initiative earlier this week. The initiative is designed to translate the Word of God for the world's most marginalized people, the company said.
"Of the more than 2,000 languages still without any Scripture, 1,240 have 10,000 or fewer speakers. Most live in remote or inhospitable regions; all are without God's Word in their language," company officials said.
Communications director Michael Currier told The Christian Post that this is an exciting time in the history of Gospel outreach to people who have yet to hear God's word in their language.
"We are closing the window. We are getting close to the finish line in terms of seeing the last languages reached with God's word," Currier said. "It's taken 2,000 years to get to this place. When you look at the scale of languages who have had access to Scriptures over the course of this 2,000-year history … back in the 1800s there was maybe one percent of the languages [that] had access to God's word, maybe 70 out of the 7,000."
He explained that with Christianity's missions movement in the 1800s' and the Bible translation movement in the last century, especially within the last 50 years, there has been "an amazing acceleration of Bible translation."
"It's exciting because we could realistically see within our lifetime, within the next 20 or less years, see Scripture reach the last languages that have been waiting for God's word," Currier said.
Translation projects focusing on large people groups have traditionally received more attention, said Roy Peterson, The Seed Company's president and CEO. "However, the needs of smaller populations are just as great and include a variety of unique challenges, from political and religious oppression to geographic and cultural isolation."
The Arlington, Texas-based company, along with its global partnership base, is making an all-out effort to enlist the support of Christians in America. Many Least of These projects are already underway and others are ready to begin or expand. To maximize incoming financial support, The Bolthouse Foundation will match donations from any church-related group.
The Seed Company points out that several well-known church leaders are behind Bible translating efforts.
"God has called churches everywhere to do what He has asked us to do ... complete the Great Commission," said Alistair Begg, pastor and host of the national weekly radio program, Truth for Life. Best-selling author and Pastor Francis Chan agrees. "If just 2,000 churches sponsor one language each ... we can get the Word of God to every people group on Earth in this generation," Chan said.
The company, which is an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators, provides translations through several tools, including training Christian leaders for storytelling by word of mouth.
"We work in partnership with ministries that are on the ground and they can take the form sometimes of local churches. Sometimes they will be ministries like the Jesus Project or Faith Comes by Hearing," Currier said. "So we partner with them and orientate our work towards the needs defined by the community."
On the Web, theseedcompany.org/leastofthese.