Putting Scripture Into the Hands of the People | Wycliffe Bible Translators


Fall 2017

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Putting Scripture Into the Hands of the People

  • August 31, 2017

After the Moba New Testament was printed and distributed in Togo, one of the translators told a story about a woman who received it. When this woman read the New Testament, she began to cry. She said, “All these years I thought it was only the pastor who could understand what God was saying. But now I’m reading it, and I can understand what God is saying to me.”

woman holding printed materials

Your gifts to this summer’s From First Words to Scripture in Use campaign helped put the printed New Testament in the hands of people in three different language communities — one in Vanuatu, one in Uganda and one in Papua New Guinea.

After the work of translation has been completed, the typesetter is responsible for getting everything for the published book correct so that it will be easy to read. For a complete Bible it takes about three to four months; a New Testament can usually be done within six to eight weeks.

“It is quite a detailed job we do in Scripture typesetting,” shares Steve Phillinger, coordinator of Scripture typesetting for SIL’s* Africa area. “All the way through we’re making sure that each page is as readable as possible.” Scripture typesetting uses a software program to digitally lay out translated Scripture text that has been entered into a computer by a translation team.

Typesetters add pictures, maps, footnotes, possibly cross-references, chapter and verse numbers, headings, and any peripheral material like glossaries, introductions and a table of contents. The typesetters also do checks for consistency — in punctuation, capitalization, headings and quotations.

man holding printed newly printed Bible

Since Scripture is usually printed on very fine paper, typesetters need to match text on either side of the paper. If you can hold a piece of paper from a Bible that is printed on both sides up against the light, you should be able to see that every line corresponds exactly.

On behalf of the people who are receiving their printed New Testaments because of your gifts and prayers, thank you!

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produced fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” — Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

Want to help print additional copies of Scripture? Through the Wycliffe’s online Gift Catalog, you can print a whole Bible, New Testament or the book of Mark. Visit wycliffe.org/giftcatalog starting October 1 to learn more.