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The Bible Society of Nigeria

BSN Promotes Cultural Sustainability through Indigenous Bible Reading

…as Nigerians demonstrate greater inclination towards God through their mother tongues
For five uninterrupted days, Nigerians from all walks of life converged at various parts of the country to participate in a historic marathon bible reading challenge in their mother tongues. The event which was held across 19 states of the Federation from 5th through 9th September 2022 saw a bubbly Nigerian Christian audience display their love for God’s word as they read the Bible in their local dialects. This unprecedented euphoria for the word of God affirms the notion that language, indeed, promotes social connections; and as seen from this programme, language also promotes spiritual connections.
The Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) has been at the forefront of advocacy for a Bible reading culture in Nigeria. This, the organisation has always argued, holds the solution to the myriad of challenges confronting the nation. The Bible addresses the entirety of human life – social, political, spiritual, cultural, economic, intellectual, and eternal. When people read and apply the principles in the Bible, they not only get the knowledge of the Almighty God but also find solutions to their problems and challenges. The 26th American President, Theodore Roosevelt once asserted that “a thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” This is because, embedded in the Bible is a wealth of knowledge sufficient to completely transform an individual, a family, and indeed an entire nation.
This year’s Marathon Bible Reading programme was themed “The Word is God.” The purpose primarily was to enable Nigerians to develop pleasure in reading the Bible and to continue to read it for their blessings and growth, while also helping others hear the Word of God in a new way. It was also intended to bring people closer to their Creator by encouraging them to read His Word, act on it, and revive the dying Bible reading culture among Christians. Following the established relationship between language and culture, the organisation decided to go the route of indigenous Bible reading in a bid to humanise culture from a biblical perspective among Christians. Language remains the basis for ethnic, regional, national, or international identity and Nigerians leveraged the opportunity provided by the Marathon Bible Reading to identify with their culture through the reading of the Bible in their mother tongues.
It is expected that the memories of the 2022 Marathon Bible Reading will continue to linger in the hearts of the participants and the lessons of cultural assimilation and preservation gleaned from it will be sedulously cherished for a long time to come.
The Bible Society of Nigeria has so far translated the Holy Bible into 26 Nigerian languages and is presently working on translations in 10 other languages. Nigeria, with over 500 indigenous languages, still has a long way to go in making the Word of God accessible to its people, the majority of whom cannot read nor understand the English language Bible.

It is, therefore, expected that more Nigerians will continue to support the work of The Bible Society of Nigeria in the translation of the Bible into local languages. To find out how you can support this cause, please call Olugbenga on 08033672696 or email oludaisi@biblesociety-nigeria.org. God bless you.