A necessary tool for BMM missionaries is the Bible in the language of the people to whom they minister. Of the 6,809 languages spoken in the world, 4,548 are without any written Scripture. In response to this need, BMM established a Bible translation division, Bibles International, in 1981. With its headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bibles International (BI) assists independent Baptist missionaries and nationals in translating, publishing, and distributing God’s Word. This is done as a result of, or in association with, missionary church-planting efforts.
To date, BI has printed Scriptures in more than 30 languages and has 35 more in progress throughout the world. The translations conform to the Majority Text family, and conservative translation principles and procedures are upheld. Well-educated nationals who have had Bible training do the actual translating. Consultants from the BI office who are well trained in Hebrew, Greek, and linguistics oversee their work. The translator and the consultant together check every word of every verse for accuracy and clarity in the target language.
When the checks are complete, BI personnel typeset and format the Scriptures and contract with a printer to make publication a reality. Once the Scriptures have been printed and distributed, BI follows up to determine how effectively they are being used. There are many joyful accounts of people coming to Christ, Christians being strengthened, and churches being rooted in the knowledge of Scripture as a result of receiving God’s Word in their mother tongue.
BI also has a literacy department that produces primers and Old Testament storybooks in the languages receiving the Scriptures. These tools aid the nationals in reading the written form of their language, thus preparing them for a better understanding of God’s Word. Literacy is a valuable tool for outreach in many countries.
In the U.S., some of the BI staff are involved in training prospective Bible translators in conservative colleges. The people who staff the Grand Rapids BI office are BMM missionaries, raising their own support. Funding for the translation projects is raised through the BI stewardship department and comes through donations from churches and individuals.
Learn more about Bibles International here.