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John N. Andrews (1829-1883)

John N. Andrews (1829-1883)

First SDA Missionary J. N. Andrews was the first SDA missionary sent to countries outside...

Joseph Bates (1792- 1872)

Joseph Bates (1792- 1872)

Joseph Bates was the oldest of the three founders of the Seventh- day Adventist...

Rachel Oakes Preston (1809- 1868)

Rachel Oakes Preston (1809- 1868)

Rachel (Harris) Oakes Preston was a Seventh- day Baptist who persuaded a group of...

Uriah Smith (1832- 1903)

Uriah Smith (1832- 1903)

Uriah Smith was born to Rebekah Spalding and Samuel Smith in1832. He showed a...

William Miller (1782-1849)

William Miller (1782-1849)

American farmer and Baptist preacher who announced the imminent coming of Christ and founded...

John Norton Loughborough (1832-1924)

John Norton Loughborough (1832-1924…

Pioneer evangelist and administrator. He first heard the present truth preached by J. N. Andrews...

Stephen Nelson Haskell (1833-1922)

Stephen Nelson Haskell (1833-1922)

Evangelist, administrator. He began preaching for the non-Sabbatarian Adventists in New England in 1853, and...

Hiram Edson (1802-1882)

Hiram Edson (1802-1882)

Hiram Edson was the instrument whom God used to reveal to the early Sabbath-keeping Adventists...

John Byington (Oct. 8, 1798 - Jan. 7, 1887)

John Byington (Oct. 8, 1798 - Jan. …

John Byington was a Methodist circuit rider before he became a Seventh-day Adventist preacher. He...

Thomas M. Preble (1810–1907)

Thomas M. Preble (1810–1907)

Author, scholar, Free Will Baptist minister of New Hampshire, and Millerite preacher. He was born...

Owen Russell Loomis Crosier (1820-1913)

Owen Russell Loomis Crosier (1820-1…

Millerite preacher and editor, of Canandaigua, New York, first writer on what was to become...

Joseph Harvey Waggoner (1820–1889)

Joseph Harvey Waggoner (1820–1889)

Evangelist, editor, author. He attended school for only six months, but was indefatigable in private...

George Storrs (1796–1879)

George Storrs (1796–1879)

Millerite preacher and writer, chief proponent of conditional immortality. Born in New Hampshire, he was...

Alonzo T. Jones (1850–1923)

Alonzo T. Jones (1850–1923)

Minister, editor, author. He was born in Ohio. At the age of 20...

Charles Fitch (1805–1844)

Charles Fitch (1805–1844)

Congregational minister, later Presbyterian minister, Millerite leader, the designer of the “1843 chart.”...

Ellen Gould White (1827–1915)

Ellen Gould White (1827–1915)

Cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, writer, lecturer, and counselor to...

Ellet J. Waggoner (1855-1916)

Ellet J. Waggoner (1855-1916)

In 1884 E. J. Waggoner became assistant editor of the Signs of the Times, under...

William Warren Prescott (1855-1944)

William Warren Prescott (1855-1944)

W. W. Prescott was an educator and administrator. His parents were Millerites in...

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Translations of the Bible

Twenty-one More Languages Now Have the Bible

READING, England - The Bible - in its complete form or portions of it - is now available in 2,233 languages, according to the 1999 Scripture Language Report issued by the United Bible Societies (UBS). This means that people can read the Word of God in 21 languages more than last year’s figure of 2,212.

Bible languagesThe Scripture Language Report contains statistics relating to translation achievements based on information gathered up to December 31, 1999. It provides the totals of Bible Portions (one complete book of the Bible), New Testaments and Bibles published in 2,233 languages, and lists Scriptures received and registered with one of the receiving libraries since the publication of last year's Report.

Five New Bibles

There are five new Bibles, all produced by the national Bible Societies, in languages which have never before had the Bible: Azumeina in Tchad, Kiryol in Guinea Bissau, Nuer in Sudan, Nzema in Ghana and Pakpak Dairi in Indonesia.

The New Testament in these languages may have been in existence for some time. For example, the Azumeina New Testament was first published in 1978. However, the importance of the completed Bible is to put into context the New Testament teachings and life of Christ, as well as the development of the early church. The history of the Jews, their faith and traditions are important in understanding much of Christ’s ministry. The Old Testament also conveys the character of God and his concern for his creation.

Widely used languages

The United Bible Societies aims to encourage and support Bible translation projects in languages that are widely used. For example, there are more than 1.2 million speakers of Pakpak Dairi, more than 840,000 speakers of Nuer and upwards of 150,000 speakers of Azumeina, also known as Marba. (A report on the launch of the Nuer Bible on January 9 will be sent out on e-mail news shortly.)

Eastern languages

Three New Testaments were registered with the American Bible Society (ABS) library last year: these are in languages in which there was no known Scripture. Speakers of Naga: Maring (India), Ontong Java (Solomon Islands) and Umbu-Ungu: Andelale - a language in Papua New Guinea - all celebrated the arrival of these Scriptures. The first two were produced by the national Bible Societies, the last was done by The Bible League.

Nineteen new Portions in languages that have no recorded Scriptures were registered at the library during 1999. The Books of Luke and Acts were published in Dhatki by the Bible Society in Pakistan, while the first complete Gospel (Luke) in Sylhetti was made available in Bangladesh. This was translated under the auspices of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and published by the Bangladesh Bible Society.

Sylhetti is spoken by more than five million people. The language once had its own unique script, but following the mass migration of Bengalis this was obliterated, and today Sylhetti is written using the Bangla script.

Five new languages received Portions thanks to SIL translation programs, all of these were in Papua New Guinea. The island of Papua has by far the largest proportion of languages in ratio to its geographical size and population in the world. In Papua New Guinea there are 817 living languages according to the SIL Ethnologue of the world’s languages; in Irian Jaya, the Indonesian part of the landmass, there are 256.

Portions gathered

When sufficient translation work is done to complete the New Testament, the translated Bible Portions are gathered together. Sometimes some revision is necessary. They are checked for consistency and often some introductory notes are written. Then they are published as a complete whole as the New Testament. The Chagga-Vunjo New Testament for the Kilimanjaro-dwelling people of Tanzania was registered last year. John Mlay is now well into his work translating the Old Testament.

The Kifuliru-speaking people of Dem. Rep. Congo, the Klao, and the Krahn (western) speakers of Liberia, and the Lusoga of Uganda have all received New Testaments in their languages for the first time. Thirty-four first-time New Testaments are reported, 21 of which are published by national Bible Societies or the UBS, eight by The Bible League, three by Wycliffe Bible Translators, one by the International Bible Society, and one by AITB the national Bible translation organisation in Côte d’Ivoire.

Ten of these New Testaments are for people in Papua New Guinea, one example being the Umanakaina New Testament which is being much appreciated by the 2,500 people living in small villages high up in the Owen Stanley Mountain Range in the south east of the island.

Another first was the St Lucian Creole New Testament, which was dedicated on October 10 last year. To have the New Testament in their most natural language evoked strong emotions and a sense of national pride among St Lucians. This was the first English-based Creole New Testament in the Caribbean. It was also the fruit of a successful partnership between the Bible Society and SIL.

In addition, 51 new Portions are reported for the first time and a number of revisions or new versions appear in languages that have already been recorded. Together with its member Bible Societies, the UBS is currently involved in 708 translation projects, 45 of which are at the production stage.

Confusing

The table included with this release gives an overall picture of the spread of translation work to date. Because Portions are absorbed into a New Testament and these disappear when a Bible is produced, it is confusing to compare the enclosed table with any previous year's statistics. While the Portion and New Testament columns can change up or down, the Bible column increases. According to the SIL Ethnologue, there are more than 6,500 languages in the world, and the current figure represents only one third of this number.

The 1999 Scripture Language Report is a statistical summary of printed Scriptures containing all languages and dialects in which Scripture publication has taken place at any time since the invention of printing in the mid-15th century. Ancient and constructed languages are also included as part of the overall picture of Biblical translation. The report is compiled from data received in the libraries of the American Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society by the end of last year. Some major Scriptures may have been omitted because copies of these were not received at the libraries and could therefore not be properly identified and catalogued. (WR 349/1 -03.00)

STATISTICAL SUMMARY

A STATISTICAL SUMMARY OF LANGUAGES WITH THE SCRIPTURES

A summary, by geographical area and type of publication, of the number of different languages and dialects in which publication of at least one book of the Bible had been registered as of December 31, 1999:

  Continent/Region

Portions

Testaments

Bibles

Total

  Africa

218 

267 

142 

627 

  Asia

228 

212 

113 

553 

  Australia/New Zealand/ 
  Pacific Islands 

172 

194 

30 

396 

  Europe

 106 

 29 

 62 

 197 

  North America

41 

25 

73 

  Caribbean Islands/Central America/ 
  Mexico/South America

135 

233 

16 

384 

  Constructed Languages

3

 

 

 

 

 

  TOTALS

 902 

 960 

 371 

 2,233

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