For more than 70 years, Wycliffe has helped people around the world translate the Bible into their own languages. We also help with language development, literacy and other spiritual and physical needs.
In 1917 a missionary named William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles. But he was shocked when many people couldn’t understand the books. They spoke Cakchiquel, a language without a Bible. Cam believed everyone should understand the Bible, so he started a linguistics school (the Summer Institute of Linguistics, known today as SIL) that trained people to do Bible translation. The work continued to grow, and in 1942 Cam officially founded Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Over the following decades, Wycliffe celebrated many milestones — from the first translation completed in 1951, all the way to the 500th translation completed in 2000. Around the same time, Wycliffe adopted a new challenge — a goal of seeing a Bible translation project started in every language still needing one by 2025.
In 1999, our leaders realized that at the speed we were going, it would be at least 2150 before a Bible translation could be started for every language that needed one.
As they thought about the people dying around the world every day without hearing the Good News of the gospel, they felt God calling them to adopt a new goal for accomplishing this mission.
Our leaders committed that we would do everything we could to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by 2025. We initially called this goal “Vision 2025,” although we later adopted the words as our mission statement.
Today, more than 1,600 languages are still waiting for a Bible translation to begin, and Wycliffe is working faster than ever to reach those languages as soon as possible.
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