Frequently Asked Questions

You may wonder about Bible translation ministry or about opportunities for service with Bibles International. People are typically unacquainted with the process of Bible translation and the possibilities for service, since it is such a complex missions ministry. So, we have provided answers to commonly asked questions.

1. What is the relationship between Bibles International and Baptist Mid-Missions?

Bibles International is a ministry team of Baptist Mid-Missions. The Mission has a 100-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 ministry team of Baptist Mid-Missions.

2. How does the translation process work, and who is involved in it?

The actual translation and literacy work is normally done by mother-tongue speakers of the target language. In other cases that work may be done by cross-cultural translators, with Bibles International's consultants to guide and help them.

The translator or literacy worker, then, is a national or cross-cultural worker who helps a language group in need of a reliable Bible or literacy materials and training. A Bibles International consultant is one with specialized training and experience who assists the field translation/literacy team.

3. Where in the world can a missionary consultant serve?

With almost 4,000 language groups still without indigenous Christian witness or the Scriptures in their tongues, the need for committed missionary consultants is obvious. This is true particularly in Africa and Asia, where Bibles International has a number of projects underway.

BI also needs consultants in Eurasia and the Americas where people are accessible. In some countries, 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 BI"s target countries, you may contact us at [email protected].

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 Translation Philosophy for an expanded treatment of this subject);
  • conforming all translations to the Majority Text of the New Testament and the Masoretic 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 over 40 translation/literacy projects in almost 20 different 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. We also send linguistics consultants to do linguistic analysis to help standardize languages and to train nationals to write the language themselves.

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.

We sometimes can team up with missionaries of other like-minded mission agencies and national church associations. All of these groups are as concerned as we are about the inerrancy of Scripture and about the 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 in Bible translation may apply to the Administrator for Church Relations and Enlistment of Baptist Mid-Missions for assignment to the country of particular burden. Bibles International assists the Enlistment Department in preparing candidates for Bible 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 Bible translation ministry?

Such candidates also make formal application through the Baptist Mid-Missions Administrator for Church Relations and Enlistment, but for assignment to Bibles International. The BI staff work closely and directly with candidates for service as translation, literacy, or linguistics consultants or in other support ministries with this ministry team.

If you feel led by God to explore further the opportunities and preparation for service with Bibles International, you may write to us at [email protected].

Together, we will do all we can to give you the information you need as you seek God's guidance in your decisions.