With Thanksgiving coming, here’s something to chew on. The statistics below are gleaned from the Wycliffe Global Alliance website. Wycliffe is the missions group who keep the most accurate records of translation work and ongoing needs for the Bible around the globe.

Languages with no Scripture

3945 languages with no Scripture – 255 million people.

  • 738 languages have work in progress – 65.4 million people
  • 1193 languages are not vital enough to plan translation work – 20.8 million people
  • 2014 languages need translation (or preparatory work) to begin – 167 million people

Bible translation need

1.5 billion people, speaking 6656 languages, do not have a full Bible in their first language.
167 million people, speaking 2014 languages, still need translation work to begin.

  • Africa – 597 languages, 20 million people
  • Americas – 120 languages, 2.6 million people
  • Asia – 836 languages, 141 million people
  • Europe – 60 languages, 2.9 million people
  • Pacific – 401 languages, 0.44 million people

[Regional numbers corrected 13 October 2020. Data as of 1 October 2020.]

Food for thought, eh? How far up on my list of things I am thankful for is the fact that I have the Word of God in my mother tongue? And that I have access to so many different English versions? According to the American Bible Society website –

I am afraid no one can give you an exact number for the English translations and paraphrases of the Bible printed since Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526. In part this is due to the difficulty of determining what should be defined as a new translation as opposed to a correction or a revision of an existing translation.

There is the additional question of how we should count translations that include not a complete Bible or Testament, but just a group of books or even a single book. And then, of course, there is the difficulty of sheer numbers. With all these caveats in mind, the number of printed English translations and paraphrases of the Bible, whether complete or not, is about 900.

I fear I fall far short in my “Thankful for the Word” quotient. It is convicting in light of how much time I spend each day with the Bible. Granted, most of the hours are currently invested in compiling a concordance for the May River Iwam New Testament. Which verses do I include for the Iwam? And how can I NOT include all MY favourites? But – are MY favourite verses ones that will be most helpful to the Iwam? And what about those verses that perhaps aren’t so obviously pertinent to the American mindset but they ARE relative to Iwam thinking? (Ex: verses that show the “spirits” are NOT their friends!)

Sometimes in this process a verse will jump out compelling me to stop and ponder some aspect of God’s character, or what He has done for us in Christ. Such interludes are so sweet!!!! Those contemplations however often become quite lengthy musings! Do those minutes of meditation count toward the mandatory 40 hour work week????

Often thru such pondering of God’s gracious goodness He brings another thought regarding the Iwam to mind. Here’s an example of the quandary – to include or not to include??

Mathew 19:29 — And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Great verse, eh! Especially for missionaries for whom “family” extends to include our overseas co-workers as much as our flesh and blood relatives! Taken in context it’s not likely to be misunderstood. In a concordance listing, however, for the Iwam – does this verse hint of salvation by WORKS???? Or Yikes! Will they interpret it as “proof” of the “cargo cult” thinking that has inundated some areas of Papua New Guinea? (In a nutshell, cargo cult is a belief system that if they do everything right, God will abundantly bless them materially.) This was not an issue with the Iwam during the years missionaries lived among them — but what has developed in their thinking since??? Hmmmmmm. Such deliberations fill the days.

In light of current events here in the USA, my thoughts can be summed up by the words of the song below. For those of us who are trusting in Christ, we can rest in God’s goodness and in knowing He has everything in complete control. He is working all things out according to His perfect plan – and in the end, we are on the winning side!

My sincere and grateful thanks to each of you who continue standing together with me thru these last days. Your prayers and gifts toward support are appreciated more than I can say. Retirement may or may not happen next March depending on how much missions work I still have to do. I do still plan to begin drawing Social Security at that time though, thus freeing my financial supporters to “invest elsewhere” should you so choose. We could all possibly be in heaven by then so it’s with great expectations we wait to see God working all things to His honour and glory!

This World Is Not My Home–J. R. Baxter

This world is not my home I’m just passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Chorus …. O Lord you know I have no friend like you
if Heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do?
the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

1. They’re all expecting me and that’s one thing I know
my saviour pardoned me and now I onward go
I know He’ll take me through though I am weak and poor
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
Chorus …..

2. Just up in Glory Land we’ll live eternally
the Saints on every hand are shouting victory
their song of sweetest praise drifts back from Heaven’s shore
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

Co-labouring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp

And for some much more pointless food for thought: is it only me or do others look at jack-o-lanterns and think “That would have made a mighty fine batch of pumpkin soup!” ?????