You wonder about Bible translation ministry, or about opportunities for service with Bibles International.
Perhaps God is leading you to join other keen and committed people who are being used of Him to change the histories and destinies of individuals and groups still waiting for Scriptures. These people are teaming up to produce Bible translations which are true both to the original texts and to the readers’ natural languages.
Bibles International is a ministry division of Baptist Mid-Missions. The Mission has an 89-year history of fruitful missionary endeavors, including Bible translation and literacy. Because of that interest, in 1981 Baptist Mid-Missions established Bibles International to provide specialized technical translation, publishing, distribution, literacy, and fund-raising services for church planters who, in order to evangelize effectively, need the Scriptures in the languages of their target groups. Thus, Bibles International is a full Bible society, operating as a division of Baptist Mid-Missions.
2. How does the translation process work, and who is involved in it?
The actual translation and literacy work may be done by the missionary translator as a member of a church-planting team on a field. In other cases that work may be done with or by associated nationals, with Bibles International's services to guide and help them.
The translator or literacy worker, then, is a missionary or national who works for a period of years with a church-planting team in the country being evangelized. A Bibles International staff-member is one with specialized training and experience who assists the field translation/literacy team.
3. Where in the world can a missionary translator serve?
With more than 4,000 language groups still without indigenous Christian witness or the Scriptures in their tongues, the need for committed missionary translators is obvious. This is true particularly in Africa, where Baptist Mid-Missions has a number of projects underway.
The Mission also needs translators in South America where people are accessible. Several European and Asian languages may need new translations. In central and southeast Asia, we train national consultants, translators, and literacy workers to work among people who are not readily accessible to expatriates. If you would like further information about opportunities for Bible translation or literacy work with one of Baptist Mid-Missions' fields, you may write to the Candidate Administrator at Baptist Mid-Missions or to the Projects Manager at Bibles International.
4. What distinguishes Bibles International from other Bible societies?
Baptist Mid-Missions/Bibles International distinctives include:
our purpose to see language groups have written languages and the ability to read them;
producing whole Bibles, not only New Testaments;
translating the content of every word, all the words, and their propositional relationships in the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic as literally as possible in the target language (see Bibles International’s Anchor Points for an expanded treatment of this subject);
conforming all translations to the Majority Text of the New Testament and the Massoretic Text of the Old Testament;
doing so for smaller language groups as well as for larger;
working closely with church-planting and/or church-developing missionaries and/or nationals;
serving with and through independent fundamental Baptists;
and doing this without interconfessional (ecumenical) involvement.
5. What is the scope of BI’s services?
Bibles International provides Scripture translation consultation services in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, theology, hermeneutics, linguistics, and project organization and funding, currently for 37 translation/literacy projects in 13 countries. Dozens more are waiting for our assistance as soon as we can expand our corps of experienced consultants and of donors to assist. The majority of these Scriptures will be translated, and their reading taught, by nationals, whom we train and supervise. Some projects are open to, and suitable for, missionary workers. When the translations are completed, we publish the manuscripts and provide distribution and use services.
Often we provide literacy consultants to prepare reading and teaching programs and materials to help the people to be able to read the completed translations.
In order to make all these things possible, we vigorously pray and search for those interested in this kind of ministry who will invest life, prayer, and funds in it.
From within Baptist Mid-Missions, currently we are serving also the Association of Baptists For World Evangelism (ABWE), Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI), Evangelical Baptist Missions (EBM), the Maranatha Bible Mission of Zanesville, Ohio, Bearing Precious Seed, and a number of national groups. All of these groups are as concerned as we are about the inerrancy of Scripture and about high quality translation of those original texts into the best dialect and vernacular Bibles possible.
6. If I’m interested in translating Scripture on a field, how do I apply?
A candidate for service as a field missionary-translator or literacy worker may apply to the Candidate Administrator of Baptist Mid-Missions for assignment to the country (“field”) of particular burden. Bibles International assists the Candidate Department to prepare candidates for field translation and literacy services. Upon acceptance as appointees, they begin deputation to build their support teams for this missionary service.
7. How do I apply to work in one of the many support services that Bibles International has for the missionary or national translator?
Such candidates also make formal application through the Baptist Mid-Missions Candidate Administrator, but for assignment to Bibles International. Staff work closely and directly with candidates for service as translation or literacy consultants or in other support ministries with this division.
If you feel led of God to explore further the opportunities and preparation for service with the Bibles International Division, you may write to any of the following: the Projects Manager, the Chief Translation Consultant, or the Chief Literacy Consultant.
Together, we will do all we can to give you the information you need as you seek God's guidance in your decisions.