Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and the most linguistically diverse. More than 500 languages are spoken in Nigeria; more than 300 of those languages are still without a single verse of Scripture.
Nigerians face many challenges such as ethnic diversity and religious persecution and fighting. Young Nigerians also confront the challenges of drug abuse and immorality.
About 40 percent of the population claim Christianity as their religion while about 50 percent claim to be Muslim. Traditional religious beliefs and practices have also been blended into Islam and Christianity.
But God is at work in Nigeria.
One Bible translation cluster project serves three people groups who speak related languages. Located in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, a region between the predominantly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south, these three groups live on the frontline of the battleground for the spiritual allegiance of Nigeria.
First among the challenges that the more than 20 partner organizations in the area are trying to address through Bible translation is the reality of life in the middle belt.
To support the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the people, various churches in the area have established local congregations to conduct Sunday services, Sunday school, Bible studies and fellowship groups. Churches also conduct marriage seminars to support Christian marriage principles.
Translated Scripture — in audio and video formats — is having an impact. Even in isolated areas cellphones are common, so phone apps on SD memory cards will be used to distribute translated Scripture.
Literacy work also engages the people to access Scripture in print format. Community based literacy programs supported by local churches are planned for all three language groups.
Pastors and members of various churches in the area help comprise the language committees for the three languages. Pastors from all denominations gather two to four times a year for all-night prayer meetings for all these discipleship ministries.
Through the influences of religious and cultural practices, women have been marginalized. Historically women have not been educated, so few can read. Christianity is greatly changing attitudes about women, and relationships between men and women.
God is indeed at work in Nigeria as translated Scripture becomes available in print, audio, video and cellphone apps! “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:11, NLT).