How did Wycliffe Bible Translators Begin?

More than 600 years ago, John Wycliffe had little idea how profoundly God would change the world through the English Bible translation movement he started. Since then, God has transformed millions of lives through His Word in English.

About 500 years after Wycliffe’s death, William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala as a missionary to the large indigenous population. Convinced that the Bible was the cornerstone of solid Christian faith, Cameron Townsend made the Spanish Bible available wherever he went. He was surprised to learn in 1917 that there were still many Cakchiquel Indians in that country who did not understand Spanish. He decided to do something about it; he learned Cakchiquel and translated the New Testament. This work led him to establish Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1940.

Today we know there are almost 7000 languages used in the world. Less than 450 have the entire Bible. More than 2200 languages are still without one version of God’s Word.

Cameron Townsend died in 1982, but he left behind a legacy of Bible translation that still continues today through The Seed Company, a Wycliffe Bible Translators affiliate. Former Wycliffe president, Bernie May, founded The Seed Company in 1993 as a strategy to accelerate Bible translation by directly connecting prayer partners and financial investors to national-led Bible translation projects. Now it’s possible to finish the work in this generation!

More recently, Team OneVerse was started in 2009 as a way to connect running to Bible translation.


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