To Translate or Not to Translate: The Place of the Old Testament in Missionary Strategy

By Eddie Arthur

To Translate or Not to Translate: The Place of the Old Testament in Missionary Strategy

An Exercise in Practical Theology


For the last twenty seven years I have belonged to an organisation called Wycliffe Bible Translators. During that time, I have often found myself having to explain that we do far more than translate the Bible. Wycliffe staff are involved in linguistic research, literacy teaching, adult education, advocacy for minority rights and much more besides. However, it is also true that we could be accused of doing a lot less than translate the Bible, too. This was brought home to me forcibly when I first arrived to work in Ivory Coast and was greeted by an Australian missionary with another agency, who with typical Antipodean humour called out ‘here comes another Wycliffe New Testament Translator!’ At the time, I was slightly offended, but over time I came to see that the jibe had more than a little truth in it. My own involvement in a translation project serves to illustrate this. The Kouya New Testament was published in 2002, at that point only one Old Testament book (Ruth) had been published and since then translation work has effectively been in abeyance. In all likelihood, there will never be a complete Kouya Bible published.

Bible Translation Goals

Barnwell proposes that there are three possible goals for translation into a given language: a) New Testament and some Old Testament, b) Some Old Testament books and Some New Testament books (or selections from both – what one author calls a “Reader’s Digest type of abridged Bible”[1],) or c) a complete Bible. She then goes on to suggest a number of criteria to evaluate whether the whole Bible should be translated for a given language, the inevitable result of which will be that only a small minority of languages will receive a full Bible[2].

Another suggestion is that the goal of Bible translation should be to ensure that “adequate” Scriptures are available in a given language. Adequate is partly defined as having portions of the Bible sufficient to address basic spiritual needs of the community and enable motivated members of the community to use them for spiritual growth[3].

There are two basic problems with this approach. Firstly, it is extremely difficult to describe what the “basic spiritual needs of a community” are. It is almost impossible for a missionary, or even a member of the community, to determine which parts of the Bible will speak most powerfully within a given culture. A translation consultant in West Africa told me that he was frustrated with one scheme for abridging the Bible commonly used in that part of the world. The abridgement had removed all of the genealogies from the text, despite the fact that genealogies and ancestry are extremely important in many West African cultures.

The second problem with this definition of “adequate Scripture” is that it talks purely of “spiritual needs”. This reflects a post-enlightenment view of life which divides the world neatly into spiritual and physical spheres: the spiritual being the domain of religion and hence the Bible. However, Scripture is written out of a very different world-view and takes a much more holistic approach to humanity. Though preachers and commentators often attempt to spiritualise the whole of the Bible, there is a huge amount of practical, ethical and political teaching in the Scriptures. By concentrating purely on “spiritual needs” an abridgement is likely to miss out a significant amount of the message of the Bible.

Why Not Translate the Whole Bible Into Every Language?

At the most simple level, the question is related to resources. Translation organisations simply do not have enough people or money to translate the whole Bible into every language that they work in. However, this approach is not simply determined by resources. Rather than attempt to translate parts of the Scripture for a relatively large number of languages, it would have been possible to translate the whole Bible for fewer groups. Effectively, a decision has been taken to reach as many people as possible with some Scripture, rather than concentrate on translating the whole Bible. The reasons for choosing this modus operandi are complex and we will return to the theme at the conclusion of this paper. However, for the moment, we need to briefly mention two rationales for reaching as wide a number of people as possible which are often cited within mission organisations.

No One Has a Right to Hear the Gospel Twice

There is a quotation which is often repeated in Evangelical missionary circles, and often attributed to Oswald J. Smith:

“No one has the right to hear the Gospel twice while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”

On one hand, this statement provides a helpful reminder of the imperative of taking the Gospel to all parts of the world. But it is very hard to reconcile the biblical call to make disciples with the notion of evangelism that is presented in this famous quote. Making disciples takes time and undoubtedly involves telling people the Gospel numerous times, not just once.


Wycliffe Bible Translators has a vision for its work entitled Vision2025[4], which envisages a translation programme started in every language that needs one by the year 2025. This vision captures a sense of urgency which is important to many within the Bible translation fraternity.

A significant proportion of Evangelical Christians believe that Jesus will only return to earth when every people group in the world has received the Gospel. This view, taken from a literal reading of Matthew 24:14, is extrapolated by some to imply that when the Scriptures are translated into every language on the planet, the End will be ushered in. One of the implications of this approach is that it is not particularly important to translate the whole of the Scriptures, starting a project and translating ‘some Scripture’ is all that needs to be achieved. This sort of approach can very easily lead to an abandonment of long term thinking as Wright points out.

“We should not treat the Great Commission as a ticking clock, just waiting for the last people group to “hear” the gospel before the Lord is, as it were, permitted to return. That kind of thinking has transformed it into a ‘job to complete’, ‘an unfinished task’. But with its command to disciples to make disciples it is a self-replicating mandate that we will never “complete” – not in the sense that we can never reach all the nations (we can and we should), but in the sense that the making of disciples, and the re-discipling of those who have formerly been evangelized, are tasks that go on through multiple lives and generations.”[5]

These are some of the reasons which lie behind the choice to translate sections of the Bible for many people groups rather than the whole Bible for a fewer number. Though at this point, I issue a caveat. The Bible translation world, of which Wycliffe is a part, is incredibly diverse and is changing very rapidly. Much of what I say in this paper will consist of generalisations which, by their nature, will not be true in every specific situation.

The Place of the Old Testament

Historically, the commonest way in which the Bible has been “abridged” in order to reach more people, is the way in which we worked in Kouya: the translation of the New Testament with only a minimum (if any) Old Testament translation. Overall, Wycliffe Bible Translators staff have been involved in translating 745 New Testaments, but only 27 complete Bibles[6]. In other words, less than 4% of these projects have led to the production of a complete Bible.

The remainder of this paper will explore why so little stress has been placed on the translation of the Old Testament and will suggest some possible avenues of work for the future. Though we shall be limiting our discussion to Bible translation, the issues raised here have a relevance to a wider range of Christian ministries.

MacDonald suggests that one of the reasons a low priority is assigned to the translation of the Old Testament is the perception that it is “less applicable to Christians today than the New Testament and that some aspects of it have been superseded and annulled”[7]. While we acknowledge that when Paul said that all Scripture is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16) he was referring to the Old Testament, there is a strong tendency to see the New Testament as somehow being more inspired and more relevant than the Old. It is, of course true that it is in the New Testament that we are introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ and learn of his death and resurrection. We rightly assign a huge importance to the New Testament, but we would be mistaken to assume that this means that we have no need of the Old.

I would suggest that there are three reasons why Bible translators should pay attention to the Old Testament as well as the New Testament:-

  • The Old Testament serves as a background for the New Testament.
  • The Old Testament communicates some truths more effectively than the New Testament.
  • The Old Testament is of particular relevance to some cultural groups.

The Old Testament as  Background for the New

The first reason for insisting on the importance of the Old Testament is that it provides the background for our understanding of the New. The Gospel accounts of prophecy and laws being fulfilled make no sense to an audience who have no experience of those prophecies and laws in the first place. One translation consultant is reported as saying that “trying to translate the New Testament without the Old Testament in place is like trying to build the fourth story of a building without the three lower stories in place”[8].

Wycliffe translator Hanni Kuhn suggests that this problem can be addressed by what she terms a ‘ramp approach’[9]:-

“As for people who have no prior knowledge of the Bible, leading them straight to the New Testament is like asking them to climb or jump to a level that is really out of their reach. They need a sort of ramp to make the ascent gradual, namely, a certain amount of Old Testament background. And it has to be made available before the New Testament is translated, not afterwards.”

Effectively, Kuhn is suggesting that a series of Old Testament passages, which are essential for understanding the New Testament should be made available as small booklets before the New Testament is translated. She goes on to propose passages which should be included, along with a series of optional readings which could also be produced.

It is, of course, true that we cannot fully understand the New Testament without some understanding of the Old. Even John 3:16, which is famously held aloft by evangelists at major sporting events, requires a grasp of the Old Testament back-story before its sense can be fully grasped.

The Old Testament Communicates More Clearly than the New

However, I do not believe that an approach to the Old Testament which sees it purely as a supporting document – background reading, as it were – to the New Testament shows adequate regard for the Old Testament as Scripture. The Old Testament does provide background to the New Testament, but it is a valuable source of God’s revelation in and of itself.

One of the main problems which Old Testament translators have to confront is the sheer length of the text. But this length communicates a powerful message in and of itself. Nothing quite demonstrates the patience and forbearance of God than the way in which he forgives and restores Israel, time after time through the length of the Old Testament. The New Testament picks up on these themes, but to a much lesser extent and it always assumes background knowledge of the Old Testament.

Much of the teaching of the Old Testament comes through extended narrative which is capable of expressing a great depth of meaning. The story of Hosea, a man married to a serial adulterer, is a very powerful explanation of the love of God for his unfaithful people, expressed in the most human of terms. It is hard to read the book of Hosea and not to be deeply moved because it speaks in a way that even John’s great phrase “God is love” does not.

The Old Testament Speaks More Powerfully to Some Cultures

There are ways in which the Old Testament communicates some issues more clearly than does the New Testament and it is also true that there are certain audiences for whom the Old Testament is far more accessible than the New. Many of the communities who currently do not have access to a complete Bible relate more closely to the Old Testament than they do to the New[10].

“Cultural affinities with the biblical world lead African and Asian Christians to a deep affection for the Old Testament as their story, their book. In Africa particularly, Christians have long been excited by the obvious cultural parallels that exist between their own societies and those of the Hebrew Bible.”[11]

Examples of this affection and affinity with the Old Testament could easily be multiplied from the literature, but I will give an example here from our own experience. When translating the book of Ruth into Kouya, we were concerned about the Hebrew term goel rendered “kinsman redeemer” in the NIV. English translations struggle with expressing terms related to levirate marriage because the concept does not exist in our context. We assumed, wrongly, that it would be equally difficult to express the concept in Kouya. However, when we came to explain the issue to our Kouya colleagues, we discovered that they have more or less the same systemof levirate marriage, and the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz made perfect sense to them.

Western Christians, conditioned by their own cultural milieu, tend to disregard some parts of Scripture. One example which has already been mentioned is the genealogies of the Old Testament; the “begats” which are generally regarded as of little interest and only important to specialists in the field. However, in much of Africa and Asia, where special reverence is given to the ancestors and family history, the genealogies are seen to have great importance and relevance. In some situations, it makes no sense for a key character such as Jesus to be introduced without an extensive genealogy explaining who he is and where he comes from. Furthermore, it actually establishes him as a real and credible person in the minds of some cultures. The genealogy proves that he is living historical person, not fictitious.

There is one group in particular for whom the Old Testament often has a special resonance; oral learners. For many Christians around the world, the way they engage with the Bible is not by reading it, but by listening as someone else reads out the text. It is well worth remembering that Scripture is addressed to those who have ears to hear!

The choice between reading and listening to a text is not simply a case of preference for one medium over another. Oral learners comprise an estimated two thirds of the world’s population[12] and they process information in a different way to literate learners. Oral learners tend to prefer engaging with information through stories and struggle to follow written modes of communication – even when the written communication is delivered orally,[13] while written learners tend to prefer material which is presented in an argued, propositional format. So, Christians in the West tend to prefer the tightly argued material in Paul’s Epistles, whereas oral learners tend to prefer the Old Testament and Gospel narratives.

The Old Testament is also of special relevance to people from an Islamic background[14]. The stories of the patriarchs have a particular resonance for people them since they share a good deal of the background of the Hebrew Bible.

Some authorities suggest that rather than relegating its translation to an afterthought, as has sometimes been the case, Old Testament passages should be translated before the New Testament because of their powerful resonance with some communities[15].

Scripture as a Unified Narrative

Each of the reasons cited above is a strong motive for translating the Old Testament alongside the New. However, we have already noted that treating the Old Testament simply as an introduction to the New does not do justice to its importance as Scripture. I would further argue that though we can identify ways in which the Old Testament is relevant in and of itself, there is a more fundamental reason for translating the whole Bible. Quite simply, this is the Bible that God has given us. In the final analysis, it is invidious to set one part of the inspired Scriptures up against another. One aspect of the genius of the canon of Scripture is the way in which it tells a connected narrative, from Genesis through to Revelation. This approach has enjoyed a recent resurgence, not least through a number of popular books; the best of which being The Drama of Scripture by Bartholomew and Goheen[16].

Yet, although Scripture forms a unified narrative, many evangelicals have a tendency to reduce the whole story of Scripture to a simple message of individual salvation. Creation is described in Genesis 1 and 2, followed immediately by the fall in Genesis 3 and from there many leap straight to the Gospels, where a solution is brought to bear on the problem of sin. This rather ambiguous attitude to the biblical narrative is captured in the following analysis.

“It is a recurring deficiency of many Protestant evangelical readings of the biblical narrative that it can be told without the inclusion of Israel at all! An over-individualistic concentration on the Fall… results in a stunted engagement with the biblical text which almost inevitably leads to an interpretation that individual salvation was the whole purpose of God’s creative act. Consequently, we quickly jump from the Fall episode to the coming of the Messiah whose death and resurrection fixes the personal sin question – and hey presto! we’re back on track!… To the contrary, it is really only when we get into the Israel story that all our interlocking overtures sound forth with a new vitality and vibrancy, mainly because this story consumes so much of the overall narrative.”[17]

For the reasons we have cited above, it is difficult to justify the tendency to translate the New Testament and not the Old. Certainly, “…providing the Christian community with the whole canon should be the ideal goal.”[18]

Resources Revisited

To say that the whole canon of Scripture should be made available is an admirable statement, but it is also unfortunately rather idealistic. The theological ideal of translating the whole canon collides with the pragmatic reality of limited resources and we must return to this issue in more detail.

The Old Testament is three times longer than the New Testament and accordingly more time, energy and finance is required for its translation. The sheer bulk of the Old Testament makes it a daunting prospect for any team of translators. One writer suggests that OT translation teams should alternate between translating longer books and shorter books simply to avoid discouragement[19].

However, not only is the Old Testament significantly longer than the New, it is also harder to translate. There are essentially two reasons for this. The first is the lack of resources and expertise. There are far more commentaries and translation guides available for the New Testament than for the Old and more people are equipped to work in NT Greek than in Hebrew. The second factor is the nature of the Old Testament text itself. A significant percentage of the Old Testament consists of narrative, which is the most straightforward genre to translate, but equally there is a significant proportion of poetry, apocalyptic and other complex literary styles which present significant problems for the translator. In addition, there are many sections of the Old Testament where the meaning of the text is obscure for one reason or another.

Currently Wycliffe staff are involved in 1525 translation programmes with around 500 more translations being carried out by other organisations[20]. Though a strong case can be made for translating the whole Bible into each of these languages, there are simply not enough human or financial resources available to make this possible.

Squaring the Circle

No mission agency has resources to translate the Bible into all of the languages of the world, yet we believe that the whole canon of Scripture is important. Counter-intuitively, I believe that the way to address this conundrum is to do less Bible translation, not more.

Over recent decades, Bible agencies have shifted their emphasis from translation per se, to envisioning, training and equipping a new generation of translators and project leaders who are able to translate the Scriptures into their own languages. The popular picture of the Bible translator as a missionary who disappears into the jungle and reappears twenty years later, clutching a translated Bible is no longer accurate, if it ever was. Though expatriates still serve as advisors, exegetes and project coordinators; “no translation organisation worthy of its name would now claim to have expatriate translators.”[21]

There are a number of reasons why native speakers should take a lead in translating the Bible. The first is the simple, pragmatic point that native speakers make better translators. A good quality translation needs to be expressed in clear, natural language and this requires the ‘feel’ of a native speaker. There are very few adults who can achieve this level of proficiency in a new language. This is even more the case when that language is only distantly related to the learner’s own mother tongue, as is often the case with minority languages.

It is also the case that the more that the community who speak the language are involved in and take responsibility for the translation project, the more likely it is that the translated Scriptures will be accepted and used by the community. It would be naïve to expect that every community in the world receives the Scriptures with open arms. There are many reasons why people might refuse to use a translation in their own language; they may prefer an already existing translation or they may simply be indifferent to the Scriptures. After all, the English don’t make a great thing of reading the Bible, despite the easy availability of the Scriptures in our language. Nevertheless, local leadership of the translation programme means that the work will be done in a way which is more likely to make the final product more acceptable to the local community.[22]

However, the most important reason why it is important that native speakers are involved in the translation process is simply that it is right that they should be. Over the last fifty years the Church has undergone a huge demographic shift. To use Andrew Walls’ expression, the Christian world has undergone a shift in its centre of gravity[23]. A comparison of trends in Uganda and the United Kingdom gives an indication of the extent of these changes. Christianity only took root in Uganda around 150 years ago yet today 75% of the population would describe themselves as Christian.[24] By contrast, in 2005 a Manchester University study showed that only 50% of British Christian parents succeeded in passing on their faith to their children,[25] while a report by Peter Brierly suggests that the membership of Christian denominations in the UK will fall to under 5% by 2040, compared to below 10% today.[26] According to Richter and Francis “For every adult in Church, four other adults used to attend regularly but have given up”.[27]

Sanneh sums up the cumulative effect of these two trends:

“By 1985 there were over 16,500 conversions a day (in Africa), yielding an annual rate of over 6 million. In the same period some 4,300 people were leaving the Church on a daily basis in Europe and North America.”[28]

The different experiences of the Church in the West and elsewhere have led to a change in the profile of Christians around the world. In 1800, well over 90% of Christians lived in Europe and North America, whereas in 1990 over 60% lived in Africa, South America, Asia and the Pacific, with that proportion increasing each year.[29]

In this situation where the majority of Christians are from the developing or majority world, it is appropriate that they take an increasing responsibility for the whole of the church’s mission to the world, including Bible translation.

The transition from expatriate missionary-translators to projects led by local people has not always been as smooth as it should have been. Partly, this has been due to the lack of appropriate training for the translation workforce. Bible translation and the associated linguistic and literacy work require a significant level of education. Typically, team leaders or exegetes need to be educated at least to degree level in Biblical studies and translation and other team members will require some degree of specialist training too.

Over the last few decades Wycliffe and other agencies have multiplied the number of opportunities for Bible translators to be trained to a high level in many locations around the world. Though I was directly involved in a translation programme in Ivory Coast, I believe that my most significant accomplishment in that country was to build the relationships necessary to enable the establishment of a French language MA in Bible translation at a theology seminary in Abidjan.

Returning to the theme of Old Testament translation, the shifting demographic of the Church means that there is no shortage of people with the potential to be involved in Bible translation work. Wycliffe and other agencies need to multiply, even further, the already significant resources they currently invest in promoting the need for translation and in equipping and training the next generation of translators. The translation goals for a particular language or region can no longer be limited to the production of translated texts along the lines of those mentioned earlier. Translation agencies can only consider their work complete in any situation if there are motivated people who are trained (or have access to training) and able to carry on the translation work. It is perfectly legitimate for a translation agency to produce only a limited part of the Bible, say a New Testament or mini-Bible, if there are people equipped to carry on that work should the community so desire.

In other words, agencies need to consider passing on a vision for translation and equipping people to be involved in the work as being at least as important as actually translating the biblical texts. This would seem to be consistent with Paul’s charge to Timothy to ensure that the next generation of Christians was equipped to follow in his footsteps (2 Timothy 3:16)

One example where this sort of approach is being used comes from the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea:

“The Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy exists to be a catalyst for increased and ongoing transformation of communities in the Sepik through capacity building and their ownership of the development and creative use of heart-language Scriptures.”

“As partnerships are built with churches, NGOs, and local community leaders, the intention is to reach out together to each of these language communities with an invitation to become involved initially through oral Bible storytelling, Participatory Approaches in survey and Language Documentation. Churches will have a critical role, determining the continuation of the engagement and the mutual contributions toward goals.  Initial activities will include building relationships with unreached communities and gauging their interest in vernacular Scriptures.  If a community expresses interest, they will be invited to workshops where they can begin involvement in language development, starting with oral bible storytelling.  Later, the communities that express interest can start to move toward limited goal written translation.”[30]

This, I believe is the future of Bible translation: slowly building a consensus within a community to tell Bible stories then move on to limited translation while building the capacity for the local people to translate the whole of the Bible into their own language at the time of their choosing. This not only honours, respects and empowers communities of Christians around the world, it is also the best way to ensure that the whole of the Bible can be translated into as many languages as possible.

Some Closing Reflections

When you are involved in a clearly defined ministry, such as Bible translation, it means that many of the missiological questions you face are well defined: for example how does Old Testament translation fit into our strategy? Churches in the UK face questions which are infinitely more complex and nuanced than these. However, it is possible that the questions that translation agencies face could help to clarify some issues which are faced by the church in the UK, for example:

  • What is the role of the Old Testament in the mission and witness of the church in the UK? Do our traditional approaches to evangelism and apologetics assume an understanding of the broader narrative of Scripture which is no longer present in our post-Christian society?
  • What can we learn from work among oral cultures for the mission of the Church in an increasingly post-literate society in the UK?

Though questions about the translation of the Old Testament may appear to be arcane and of interest only to the specialist; this is an important area of missiological investigation which has significant impact in our post-Christian society.


Arichea, Daniel, ‘Theology and Translation: The Implications of Certain Theological Issues to the Translation Task’, in Bible Translation and the Spread of the Church: The Last 200 Years (Brill, 1990), pp. 40-67.

Arthur, Edwin, ‘Hearing the Gospel Once or Twice’, Kouya Chronicle, 2011 <>.

Barnwell, Katherine, ‘Goals for Translation: A Proposal’, Notes on Translation, 9 (1995), 20-24.

Bartholomew, Craig, The Drama of Scripture : Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2006).

Brown, R., ‘Communicating God’s Message in Oral Cultures’, International Journal of Frontier Missions, 21 (2004), 26–32.

—, ‘Selecting and Using Scripture Portions Effectively in Frontier Missions’, International Journal of Frontier Missions, 18 (2001), 10.

Greene, C., and M. Robison, Metavista: Bible, Church and Mission in an Age of Imaginiation, ed. by anonymous, Faith in an Emerging Culture (Authentic, 2008).

Hill, Margaret, ‘Some Practical Considerations for Translating the Old Testament’, Notes on Translation, 9 (1995), 34-39.

International Orality Network.;Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization., Making Disciples of Oral Learners : to Proclaim His Story Where It Has Not Been Known Before — (Waxhaw  N.C.: International Orality Network, 2005).

Jenkins, P., ‘Reading the Bible in the Global South’, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 30 (2006), 67–73.

—, The Next Christendom : the Coming of Global Christianity, ed. by anonymous (Oxford University Press, 2002).

Kuhn, Hanni, ‘Building a Ramp To The New Testament’, Notes on Translation, 11 (1997), 1-5.

Macdonald, George, ‘Rethinking Our Position On Translating the Old Testament’, Notes on Translation, 9 (1995), 1-19.

Sanneh, L. O, Whose Religion Is Christianity? : the Gospel Beyond the West, ed. by anonymous (W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2003).

Walls, A. F, The Cross-cultural Process in Christian History : Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith, ed. by anonymous (Orbis Books, 2002).

Wright, Christopher, The Mission of God’s People : a Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Grand Rapids  Mich.: Zondervan, 2010).

Zogbo, Lynell, ‘Introduction to the Field Today’, in A History of Bible Translation, ed. by Philip A. Noss (Edizioni Di Storia E Letteratura, 2007), pp. 337-350.


[1] Daniel Arichea, ‘Theology and Translation: The Implications of Certain Theological Issues to the Translation Task’, in Bible Translation and the Spread of the Church: The Last 200 Years (Brill, 1990), pp. 40-67 (p. 47).

[2] Katherine Barnwell, ‘Goals for Translation: A Proposal’, Notes on Translation, 9 (1995), 20-24 (p. 20).

[3] R. Brown, ‘Selecting and Using Scripture Portions Effectively in Frontier Missions’, International Journal of Frontier Missions, 18 (2001), 10 (p. 10).

[4] “By 2025, together with partners worldwide, we aim to see a Bible translation programme begun in all the remaining languages that need one.” See

[5] Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People : a Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Grand Rapids  Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), p. 285.


[7] George Macdonald, ‘Rethinking Our Position On Translating the Old Testament’, Notes on Translation, 9 (1995), 1-19 (p. 1).

[8] Macdonald, 1-19 (p. 12).

[9] Hanni Kuhn, ‘Building a Ramp To The New Testament’, Notes on Translation, 11 (1997), 1-5 (p. 1).

[10] Macdonald, 1-19 (p. 5).

[11] P. Jenkins, ‘Reading the Bible in the Global South’, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 30 (2006), 67–73 (p. 68).

[12] International Orality Network.;Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization., Making Disciples of Oral Learners : to Proclaim His Story Where It Has Not Been Known Before — (Waxhaw  N.C.: International Orality Network, 2005).

[13] R. Brown, ‘Communicating God’s Message in Oral Cultures’, International Journal of Frontier Missions, 21 (2004), 26–32 (p. 125).

[14] Brown, 10 (p. 13).

[15] Lynell Zogbo, ‘Introduction to the Field Today’, in A History of Bible Translation, ed. by Philip A. Noss (Edizioni Di Storia E Letteratura, 2007), pp. 337-350 (p. 348).

[16] Craig Bartholomew, The Drama of Scripture : Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2006).

[17] C. Greene and M. Robison, Metavista: Bible, Church and Mission in an Age of Imaginiation, Faith in an Emerging Culture (Authentic, 2008), p. 122.

[18] Arichea, pp. 40-67 (p. 48).

[19] Margaret Hill, ‘Some Practical Considerations for Translating the Old Testament’, Notes on Translation, 9 (1995), 34-39 (p. 35).

[20] This number accounts for roughly three quarters of all of the languages into which the Bible is currently being translated. See

[21] Zogbo, pp. 337-350 (p. 339).

[22] Zogbo, pp. 337-350 (p. 347).

[23] A. F Walls, The Cross-cultural Process in Christian History : Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith, (Orbis Books, 2002), p. 31.

[24] P. Jenkins, The Next Christendom : the Coming of Global Christianity, (Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 91.

[25] Daily Telegraph: 17 August 2005

[26] Daily Telegraph: 3 September 2005


[28] L. O Sanneh, Whose Religion Is Christianity? : the Gospel Beyond the West, (W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2003), p. 15.

[29] Walls, p. 31.



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