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Bible Translation

Thriving After Tragedy

Aug 1, 2023
Group of musicians playing Arop Scriptures in song

The Arop people in Papua New Guinea have always believed that one day they would have the New Testament translated in their language. They trusted that God would guide and provide.


When a strong tsunami struck the Arop community in 1998, more than 2,200 people were killed, including one member of the Bible translation team. In the wake of that tragedy, the surviving translation team members felt a deep sense of urgency to help other nearby language communities have the hope of Christ in the midst of tragedy.


Today 11 communities, including Arop, are involved in translation work in the area. With God’s lead, work is progressing and the translation teams are seeing the impact.


Clement, a Bible translator for one of the communities, heard music as he walked home from church one Sunday morning. He noticed a crowd gathering outside a church and saw people from his community listening to lyrics that had been written for them during a recent songwriting workshop. The scene before him illustrated that his work as a Bible translator truly mattered. “I feel so glad that these translated Scriptures in song are being listened to and are sparking more interest in the translated Word of God,” he said. “Now I’m hearing people humming the Scripture songs, and I’m encouraged to keep translating.”


The Arop team has printed 1-3 John and Jude, and eight New Testament books are ready for typesetting: Mark, John, Philippians, 1-2 Thessalonians, James and 1-2 Peter. Using the Arop translation as a source text, the other communities are making good progress on their translations as well. Thanks to God, thousands more people in this region have access to the gospel through translated Scripture.

Wycliffe is grateful for all who support Bible translation, including those who give through the Combined Federal Campaign.

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