Church-Centric Bible Translation

Bible Translation

The concept of “Church-centric Bible Translation” is an important one to understand in 21st century missiology. It refers to the aspect of establishing the Church in sound doctrine that includes equipping the Church to translate and maintain their own translations of the Bible in every language. Early attempts to document this transition of the Church as merely “consumers” of Bible translations to both “producers/consumers” of their own Bible translations described a model that reflected a limited perspective of the process, that of transitions in Bible translation itself through time. While some aspects of this model may be helpful, the model itself was simplistic in that it failed to address essential ecclesiological, translational, and strategic issues. Instead of attempting to provide a single, lengthy document to address all of these issues, they are addressed individually in various whitepapers.

The Gateway Languages Strategy

The objective of the Gateway Languages Strategy is to equip the global Church with the content, tools and training materials needed for translation of the Bible and creation of culturally-relevant, theologically-sound biblical resources in every language needed by the global Church. It does so by providing these resources in English under open licenses and then collaborating with Church networks worldwide to translate them into the ~50 Languages of Wider Communication that cover 100% of the global Church through patterns of multilingualism (the Gateway Languages). In this way, every element of the Church in each people group is provided with essential biblical resources in a language they understand and that they have the legal freedom to use for Bible translation and creation of other biblical resources in their own languages.

Download the whitepaper (revision 2) here:

Trustworthy and Trusted

Trustworthy and Trusted describes the difference between the trustworthiness of a Bible translation and the trust that the element of the global church that speaks the language has in it. It examines the means by which trust can be established, as well as the two key milestones through which every translation goes to arrive at trustworthiness. It considers historical precedents and suggests that while excellence must always be the goal, ongoing revision of Bible translations is to be expected, not avoided. It then describes the various means by which the church determines the trustworthiness of a Bible translation and considers how a systematic and comprehensive checking model could both improve the faithfulness of a translation and accelerate the process of achieving it. Finally, it proposes collaboration in the provision of resources and tools that implement the model.

Download the whitepaper (revision 1) here:

From Unreached to Established

From Unreached to Established describes the current reality regarding Bible translation by contrasting two different paradigms. The dominant paradigm of Bible translation in recent decades has been focused on the delivery of a quality product. The paper argues that this “Bible-centric” paradigm is becoming misaligned with the needs of the rapidly growing global church and is also facing a crisis due to lack of personnel to fill key quality assurance roles. The emerging “church-centric” paradigm integrates Bible translation into the process of establishing strong churches, providing improved scalability and alignment with the global church’s needs. This paradigm is shown to be facing its own crisis, due to lack of accessible resources. The paper concludes by showing how Bible agencies can help resolve this crisis by collaboratively creating these resources and training the trainers of the global church, but that doing so will require a transition from the objectives and metrics of the product-oriented, Bible-centric paradigm to the capacity-building, church-centric paradigm.

Download the whitepaper (revision 1) here: