By Libby Hopkins
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems we face.” Many people don’t look at the Bible as a problem solver; they only see “just a book.” The Barna Research Group reported in 2016 that only 16 percent of Millennials believe the Bible is the actual, literal Word of God, and one in three Millennials view it as “not inspired by God” or “just another book.” One in five teenagers has a similarly negative view of Scripture.
The Wycliffe Bible Translators USA hopes to change these statics with their “Why Bible” (#WhyBible) campaign that kicked off September 1.
“The Word of God is perhaps the most important ingredient for a healthy, individual faith and a thriving church community. But research shows that a surprising number of people, including believers, are apathetic about the Bible,” said Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe USA. “We want to start a conversation about the Bible’s power to change lives.” The Why Bible campaign will run throughout the month of September, and Wycliffe USA anticipates it becoming an annual initiative.
For more than 70 years, Wycliffe Bible Translators have helped people around the world translate the Bible into their own languages. It also helps with language development, literacy and other spiritual and physical needs. “Our founder, William Cameron Townsend, was originally a Bible salesman in Guatemala,” said Scott Everhart of Wycliffe Bible Translators. “When he encountered Cakchiquel speakers who had no use for the Spanish Bibles he was selling, he realized many minority languages need Bible translations of their own. In 1942, he founded Wycliffe Bible Translators to help translate the Bible for every language that needs it.”
Today, Wycliffe continues that mission. Of the world’s roughly 7,000 languages, at least 1,700 translations have yet to begin. This represents 180 million entirely unreached people. However, thanks to improving methods and innovations in technology, the goal of starting a translation project in every language that needs one may be less than a decade away.
Creson and Everhart both hope the Why Bible campaign will change the way everyone, including Millennials, view the Bible. “We want to start a conversation and get people thinking about the Bible again,” Everhart said. Our hope for Why Bible is that it inspires people to engage with Scripture regularly as part of their daily walk with God, and demonstrates the Bible’s relevance and power for those who haven’t yet considered all it has to offer.”
Visit www.wycliffe.org or why.bible.