Scripture Distribution Report 2017

More than 20% of all Bibles distributed by the United Bible Societies (UBS) fellowship in 2017 were downloaded from the internet. It’s the first time Scripture downloads have been recorded separately by Bible Societies – and it shows that online distribution is increasingly significant.

While overall Scripture distribution fell by 
12% globally, the number of full Bibles made available around the world topped 34 million for the third year running. Of these, more than 7.9 million Bibles were downloaded, primarily on apps such as YouVersion. In total, more than 107 million full Bibles have been distributed by the UBS fellowship since 2015.

Nearly 355 million Scripture items, including Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and smaller Scripture items like booklets for people learning to read, were distributed (or downloaded) in 2017. UBS continues to be largest translator and distributor of Scripture on the planet; around 70% of the world’s full Bible translations have been provided by Bible Societies.

The figures are compiled from annual Scripture distribution numbers reported by Bible Societies around the world, and include local sales and exports of Scripture material and unique internet downloads.

God’s Word at our fingertips

The full Bible was downloaded more than 7.9 million times in 2017 as unique downloads – but this is a conservative figure and it’s likely the real number of downloads was much higher. Around 90 Bible Societies are now making their Scripture translations available online, using hundreds of different websites, such as bibles.org, and apps such as YouVersion. In addition, more than three-quarters of Bible Societies have received training in how to make the Bible available digitally.

The Europe-Middle East region had the highest proportion of Bible downloads; 44% of all Bibles distributed there were provided online. But the Americas saw the biggest number of Bible downloads – some 5.4 million.

The download data for 2017 has been collated from YouVersion and tracking within individual Bible Societies. It errs on the conservative side, with downloads under- counted, but the data collection is a step forward from last year – and will become increasingly accurate in the coming years.

Most Bible Societies now store their texts in the Digital Bible Library (DBL), which is developed and maintained by UBS in partnership with other Bible agencies. It was launched in 2011 and has grown rapidly since then, making the Bible more accessible than ever before. By the end of 2017, the DBL contained 1,735 Scripture texts in 1,269 languages, spoken by 5.6 billion people.

Scriptures for conflict zones

More people are displaced today than ever before; an unprecedented 65.6 million people have been forced from their homes around the world. It’s a humanitarian crisis that has touched almost every region of the world. And it’s led to a huge demand for Scripture among people who long for God’s comfort, hope and healing.

In South Sudan, where four million people have been driven from their homes, Scripture distribution has increased dramatically. The Bible Society there has distributed more than 250,000 Bibles since the conflict began in December 2013, compared with an average of around 6,000 Bibles a year before the war started.

After four years of conflict in eastern Ukraine, 4.4 million people are in a ‘dire humanitarian situation’, according to the United Nations. Last year, the Ukrainian Bible Society distributed more than 190,000 Scriptures, many of them to people affected by the fighting, including refugees, soldiers and hospital patients. Half of those distributed were special editions of the New Testament, including a waterproof one for the military and another that highlights verses about hope.

“Amid tension, people are looking for the comfort and stability that is found in the Word of God,” said Bible Society General Secretary Rev Oleksandr Babiychuk.

Meanwhile, two million Scripture items, including more than 350,000 full Bibles, have been distributed in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq since conflict hit the region in 2011. A record number of Scripture portions – 200,281
– were distributed in Syria in 2017. George Andrea, who leads the team of four Bible Society staff in Syria, said the Aleppo bookshop has remained open almost every day throughout seven years of war.

“During Christmas we organised our greatest distribution ever,” said George. “You should see the children when they receive these gifts. They feel the Bible is a gift from God, special for them. In this way, we give children hope that God will help them pass through this bad time.”

15 million print Bibles in five nations

Five countries accounted for more than 40% of the global distribution of full printed Bibles by Bible Societies.


2017 Global Scripture Access Report

In 2017, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of Scripture translations in 49 languages spoken by more than 580 million people.
2017 was a ‘first’ for 20 languages, spoken by over 14 million people. 7 communities received the very first full Bible in their language, 4 received their first New Testament and 9 communities received their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.
Languages change and develop over time. That is why Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations or providing new1 translations, when requested, giving new generations the chance to meaningfully engage with Scripture. In 2017, this resulted in 26 new translations and revisions, plus 9 study editions, with the potential to reach more than 566 million people.

Scripture Access Today

There are currently 7,097 languages in the world spoken by over 7.6 billion people.
674 languages spoken by nearly 5.4 billion people now have a complete Bible and a further 1,515 languages spoken by 631 million people have a New Testament.
This leaves 406 million people with only some portions of Scripture, and a further 209 million people with no Scripture in their language.
United Bible Societies is working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible in the language of their choice. Bible Societies are currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.

Scripture Access and Engagement

Developments in digital technology have provided unprecedented access to the Bible, and more people than ever before in history are engaging with Scripture – and sharing it, too.
The Digital Bible Library® (DBL) is central to our strategy to make the Bible as widely and easily accessible as possible. By the end of 2017, the DBL contained 1,735 Scripture texts in 1,269 languages spoken by 5.6 billion people. Audio Scriptures in the DBL nearly tripled in 2017 to 1,078 audio Scriptures in 732 unique languages spoken by 4.9 billion people.
The DBL is owned and maintained by United Bible Societies in partnership with other Bible agencies and with the support of the Every Tribe Every Nation alliance. It makes the Bible accessible by providing Scripture texts to the public through partners such as BibleSearch and YouVersion.

Why Bible translation matters

When a community receives the Scriptures in their language, something profound happens. People feel that God is speaking directly to them, from among them. “God speaks my language!” is a common joyful reaction as they start to experience the hope and transformation in the Bible.
While great strides have been made in Bible translation, with the full Bible available in the languages of around 81% of the global population, 209 million people across the world still do not have the chance to encounter any part of Scripture in their language. Much work lies ahead if at least some parts of the Bible are to be made available in these remaining 3,773 languages. Please pray for this vital area of mission and for the Bible Societies and partner agencies committed to meeting this need.


Global Scripture Distribution Report 2016

For the third year running, Bible Societies have distributed more than 400 million Scripture items around the world – including more than 34 million Bibles. That’s enough for more than 5% of the world’s population. And since the beginning of the decade, the United Bible Societies fellowship (UBS) has distributed enough Scripture material for two out of every five people on the planet.


The distribution of nonprint Bibles such as digital downloads, CDs, Scripture texts and DVDs has more than doubled across the world in 2016, driven by the growing demand for Bibles on our phones and devices. The trend mirrors growing internet use around the world. Around 45% of the world’s population now have access to the internet, and by 2020 seven out of every 10 people on the planet will own a smartphone. We spend more time on our phones than any other media.Meanwhile, the global Digital Bible Library now has Scripture in 1,134 languages, which reach a total audience of more than five billion people.


At the end of 2016, Bible Society of Brazil reached the milestone of 150 million Bibles and New Testaments produced at its Bible Press since 1995. In Bangladesh, where nine out of 10 people are Muslim, the Bible Society team distributed more than eight times as many New Testaments as in the previous year. Altogether they provided 105,081 New Testaments through book fairs, distribution among rural believers and an initiative to reach mothers and families. The Palestinian Bible Society distributed five times as many New Testaments in 2016, compared to 2015. This was against a backdrop of violent outbursts between Israelis and Palestinians throughout the year, which raised tension and volatility in the region. And during a historic year for Cuba, when former ruler Fidel Castro died and Barack Obama, then President of the United States, made an unprecedented visit to the country, Scripture distribution soared. The number of Bibles and Scripture portions made available by the Cuba Bible Commission more than doubled, with more than 350,000 full Bibles provided in the nation. The distribution effort was part of the ‘One million Bibles for Cuba’ campaign, which was launched in 2013 and is due to run until the end of next year.


2016 Global Scripture Access Report

In 2016, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 61 languages spoken by over 428 million people.

2016 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 30 languages, spoken by over 95 million people. 17 communities now have their very first Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 7 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today. In 2016, this resulted in a further 28 new translations and revisions plus 3 study editions with the potential to reach over 333 million people.

Scripture Access Today

There are currently 6,880 languages in the world spoken by over 7.4 billion people.

648 languages (spoken by over 5.1 billion people) now have a complete Bible and a further 1,432 languages (spoken by 657 million people) have a New Testament. This leaves 434 million people with only some portions of Scripture and a further 253 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.

United Bible Societies is committed to working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible in the language of their choice. Bible Societies are currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.


Postgraduate Program on Bible Translation in an Orthodox Context

Bible translation stands at a unique intersection of linguistics, translation studies, hermeneutics and biblical studies. It is also an activity which has been carried out continuously from the time of ancient Alexandria (the Septuagint translation) until today, thereby providing a rich corpus of historical material for study. Within this framework the special characteristics of Bible translation in the Orthodox tradition are less well known.

From the 27th of September until the 29th a postgraduate program began at the offices of the Hellenic Bible Society that will lead to the award of a postgraduate degree. The program combines distance learning and residential seminars that will take place in various historical Orthodox centers. The participants in this program, coming from countries such as Greece, Albania, Romania, FYROM, Serbia, and Russia, will attend courses through which they will have the opportunity to get to know the history, theory and practice of Bible translation in the Orthodox world, with special attention paid to the delicate balance of tradition and innovation.

In the first meeting that took place in Athens and was hosted at the offices of the Hellenic Bible Society, participants had the opportunity to attend lectures by esteemed scholars both from Greece and abroad. The lectures were given by: Prof. Emeritus of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Ioannis Karavidopoulos with the title “Bible in Orthodoxy”, the Dean of the Nida Institute Rev. Dr. Phil Towner with the title: “Bible Translation and Bible Societies”, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Athens Konstantinos Zarras with the title: “Biblical Scholarship in the Orthodox World”, Dr. Simon Crisp, Manager for Interconfessional Scholarship and Training and scholarly editions of the UBS with the title: “Introduction to Translation Studies”, and finally the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Miltiadis Konstantinou with the title: “The Translational Work of the Hellenic Bible Society”.

Those completing the course will be well prepared not only for activity in the specific field of Bible translation, but also for work in areas like textual editing, libraries, documentation centres and museums. The postgraduate program is co-organized by the Hellenic Bible Society, Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society, and Fondazione Universitaria San Pellegrino.

 

 

 


50 new Scripture translations completed last year

In 2015 Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people.

2015 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 28 languages, spoken by nearly 33 million people. 11 communities now have their very first full Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 11 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today. In 2015 this resulted in a further 20 new translations and revisions plus 2 study editions with the potential to reach over 127 million people.

100 Bibles in 1000 Days

In 2013 United Bible Societies identified 100 full Bibles that could be translated by the end of 2015. We are pleased to report that 90 have completed the translation stage with 53 published and encouraging their communities, and 37 in pre-production or printing.

Please pray for all those working on the remaining 10 translations that they will be able to complete their work as soon as possible. Please also pray for two confidential projects which have been completed but need permission from the authorities before they can be published.

Scripture Access Today

GSAR-2015-graph-en

563 languages (spoken by nearly 5.1 billion people) now have a full Bible and a further 1,334 languages (spoken by 658 million people) have a New Testament. This leaves 281 million people with only some portions of the Bible and a further 497 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.

United Bible Societies is committed to working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible – so much work still remains to be done. Furthermore, languages are constantly changing; therefore we are committed to ensuring that existing translations are regularly revised and new translations undertaken to meet the needs of the communities that use them. Bible Societies is currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.


The Translation of the Bible in the Church and Education

EBE_42aOn the 12th and 13th of December, 2014 the Hellenic Bible Society organized an International Conference on “The translation of the Bible in the Church and in Education” at the Cultural Centre of the Archdiocese of Athens. Within the program of this conference the Hellenic Bible Society had planned and carried out a modest tribute to the translators of the New Testament, professors Georgios Galitis, Ioannis Karavidopoulos, Ioannis Galanis and Petros Vassiliadis. The Hellenic Bible Society is celebrating 25 years of the approval and blessing of the translation of the New Testament to the demotic language by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other Patriarchates and the Church of Greece. For this reason the Hellenic Bible Society honored the translators of this effort.

The Hellenic Bible Society celebrated in 2014, 25 years of the approval and blessing of the translation of the New Testament to the demotic language by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other Patriarchates and the Church of Greece!


At the beginning of the conference, Bishop of Abydos Kyrillos, Professor of Theology at the University of Athens read the message of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Representative of the ChEBE_108aurch of Greece was appointed Bishop of Marathon Meliton, who read the message of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II, while the Bishop of Botswana Basil represented the Patriarchate of Alexandria and read the message of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, Theodoros II. The representative of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem also attended the conference who read out the message from Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III.

The Metropolitan of Demetrias and Almiros Ignatius addressed the honored professors and translators of the New Testament in his capacity as President of the Hellenic Bible Society. To each of the four translators honored by the Hellenic Bible Society were given a gilded gospel by the President. In reply the Emeritus Professor of the Theological School of Athens Mr. Georgios Galitis spoke on behalf of the teachers and honorees.

EBE_125aAfter the honorary event the program continued under the chairmanship of the Ass. Professor of Theology Charalambos Atmatzidis and the prologue of the Ass. Professor of the University of Athens Christos Karakolis entitled “Scientific Publications, United Bible Societies & Translation”. The next and final speaker of day one of the conference was the dean of the Nida New York Institute Mr. Phil Towner on: “Eugene Nida and the So-Called” Power-turn “in Translation Studies”.

Saturday morning during the first session chaired by EBE_185athe Professor of the Hellenic Bible College Mr. John Kremmydas, two presentations were made. The first by the Director of the Greek Historical Evangelical Archive Mr. John Tsevas on “The Promotion of the Hellenic Bible Society in Evangelical Churches in Greece” and the second by the Ass. Professor of the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome Mr. Vasili Babota on: “The Vulgate in the Catholic Church”.

In the second session chaired by Mr. Anthony Foskolos according to the schedule there were tEBE_237ahree prologues. The Ass. Professor of Pastoral and Social Theology of AUTH (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) Mrs. Ekaterini Tsalampouni suggested the subject: “Modern Methods Interpretation and Translation of the Bible”. Then Ass. Professor of Theology AUTH Fr. Ioannis Skiadaressis spoke on “The Bible in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church”. The Counselor of the Ministry of Education Mr. Stavros Yagazoglou spoke on the subject: “The translation of the Bible in Secondary Education”.

During the last part of the conference a round table discussion on “The future of translation work and the cooperation of the Hellenic Bible Society with the Churches”. Amongst many who took part in thiEBE_357as discussion were the President of the Theology Department University of Athens, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia, the Catholic Archbishop of Athens Sevastianos Rossolatos and the Pastor of the First Greek Evangelical Church of Athens Panagiotis Kantartzis. The discussion was coordinated by the dean of the Theological Faculty of the Aristotle University, Professor Miltiades Konstantinou.

Also attending the two-day conference was the Dean of Theology of the University of Athens School Professor Marios Begzos, Metropolitans of Alexandroupolis Mr. Anthimos and of Ilion Acharnon and Petroupoleos Mr. Athenagoras, professors of the two Theological Schools, members of the new translation team of the Hellenic Bible Society, postgraduates and doctoral candidates, teachers and many people from all ecclesiastical denominations.

The Scientific committee of the conference consisted of: Miltiadis Constantinou (Dean of the Theological Faculty of the Aristotle University), Christos Karakolis (Associate Professor, University of Athens) and Ekaterini Tsalampouni (Assistant Professor of Pastoral and Social Theology of AUTH).

You can watch the conference speeches by clicking on the subject of each speaker or visiting our YouTube channel: ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΙΑ


Third educational seminar of translators of the Bible

Paratext 3_62For five days (16th -20th of June) in the Educator’s Laboratory of the Faculty of Theology on the ground floor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 31 people in total, trainers and trainees from Greece and abroad from 09.00 am until 17.00 pm dealt intensively with the issue of translation of biblical texts and possibilities of specialized Paratext 7.4 software, which offers the possibility of continuous communication and exchange of information between translators around the world on issues relating to translation of the Bible. The trainees, graduate students, doctoral candidates, PhD, members of thParatext 3_75e Hellenic Bible Society and faculty members of the two theological schools of Greece attended presentations (in Greek and English) on the translation of the biblical texts and the various difficulties, the intertextuality (quotations, allusions and echoes passages of the Old Testament texts in the New Testament), the relevant background, the relationship of the books of the Old Testament with those of the New Testament, but also their respective listeners / readers of texts. The seminar also included practical exercises the trainees using Paratext 7.4 and its capabilities, translation of an indicative passage from the Prophets, as well as evaluating the translation efforts.

Throughout the seminar an Paratext 3_70Internet platform was operating as a digital classroom (e-class) through which the members of the seminar were communicating directly with each other and the supporting material, as well as the speakers’ presentations was constantly available. The Hellenic Bible Society and Professor of Theology AUTH Miltiadis Konstantinou, who had the scientific responsibility of the entire project, from the beginning of the first training course, hope that young translators who received specific training and the special software will directly enhance the translation work done in our country.