A Wycliffe Associates rep wrote this past week asking Brigada participants to pray for initiatives that will use digital technology to bring the Scriptures to those living in areas where restricted religious freedom limits access to the Bible. The initiative, called Operation Timothy, inspired by the Bible verse 1 Timothy 6:12, uses technology such as websites and mobile devices to deliver the Scriptures in a way that poses less risk for those who seek access to it. The use of mobile phones and the Internet draws less scrutiny and gives greater access than a printed Bible. There are more than 65 countries in the world where Christians are persecuted, according to Open Doors USA.
Wycliffe Associates Delivering the Scriptures to Hostile Areas Through the Use of Digital Publishing
(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation, is making Scripture available through the use of digital publishing in areas that are hostile to Christianity.
“For the first time in the history of Bible translation,” says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, “we have a way of providing Scripture to language groups in areas hostile to Christianity—through digital technologies such as websites and mobile devices.”
In many areas of the world, Christians are targeted, and participation in Christian evangelism can lead to arrest, beatings, and even death. In some places, the punishment for holding a Bible is the amputation of both hands.
Challenges like these have prompted Wycliffe Associates to use technology to make the Scriptures accessible to those who have little or no access to a printed copy of the Bible or those for whom owning a Bible would be life-threatening.The organization is calling this digital publishing effort Operation Timothy and is seeking to raise $100,000 to fund operations that will make the Bible accessible through the Internet and mobile phones in areas that are hostile to Christianity.
“In sensitive areas,” says Smith, “mobile phones and Internet use draw less scrutiny than a Bible and give greater access.”
One Christian woman who lives in an area where Christians are targeted, says the digital access to Scriptures that Wycliffe Associates helps provide gives her the help she couldn’t otherwise obtain because of the limitations of her geographic location. “For years, I talked and dreamed of having a website but had no idea of how to go about it or who I could ask for help in such a sensitive location,” she says. “So, thank you for enabling me to receive different materials on the Web to be watched, listened to, read online, or downloaded on mobile phones. It has already been helping others!”
Also, in one country in Africa where a bitter war claims lives daily, people clamored for a portion of Scripture for their phones as soon as it was recorded digitally. According to Ethnologue: Languages of the World, there are 133 living languages in this country.
“God’s Word is so valuable to them in the harsh reality of their lives that they want it with them always,” says Smith. In another region, a Wycliffe Associates missionary says, “We went live and now the Word of God in our beloved language is available to anyone with a computer or a mobile phone. A translation helper was so happy, she started crying.”
Wycliffe Associates involves people in accelerating the work of Bible translation through their time, talents, and treasure. Because millions of people around the world are still waiting to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as they can to translate every verse of the Bible into every tongue to change every heart. The organization partners with nationals, mother tongue translators, staff, volunteers, and supporters to direct and fund these efforts, as well as provide logistics, networking, and technical support. Through a growing global network,
Wycliffe Associates is striving to overcome local limitations of time and resources to achieve the goal of beginning the translation of God’s Word in every remaining language that needs it by 2025.
Last year, the organization mobilized 3,703 volunteers and staff members to accelerate Bible translation in 77 countries. Additional information is available at these websites.