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The Bible Society of Nigeria

How BSN is Impacting the Christian Community through Bible Translations

“I am excited beyond measure that we have the Bible in our language. We will now have a better understanding of the word of God than when we were using the Bible in a borrowed language. Before this Bible came, it was like we were in darkness, but having it in our language is like seeing and hearing God face to face.” - Olorunfemi Amupitan, an Okun language speaker at the launch of the Okun Bible.

At the centre of the mission of the Bible Society of Nigeria is the production of the Bible in the preferred languages and formats of Nigerians.  The Society, from its inception, has been making frantic efforts towards fulfilling this mandate. 

Since the first translation of the Bible into a Nigerian indigenous language (Efik) in 1868, the Bible Society of Nigeria has gone on to translate the Holy Bible into additional 26 Nigerian languages, with work currently ongoing in 10 other languages.  This is a big feat considering the cost implications of translating the Bible into an indigenous language.  It costs about a minimum of N120 million, within a 12-year duration, to complete a single Bible translation in Nigeria.  However, when viewed from the perspective of the over 500 indigenous Nigerian languages, it can be reasoned that this achievement is just a drop in the ocean.  The huge gap in indigenous language Bible translation remains a very great source of concern to the Society, as the implication of having many Nigerians without the Bible in their mother tongue could be as devastating as the tragedy of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. 

For a country with a very high rate of illiteracy, the question then is, what happens to the large number of persons that cannot read the English Bible?  They may forever remain ignorant of the mind of God concerning their lives.  It was the world’s renowned Preacher, Billy Graham, that said, “If you are ignorant of God’s Word, you will always be ignorant of God’s will.”  So, the quest to translate the Bible into more languages is a battle against spiritual ignorance.  The more languages the Bible is translated into, the more empowered Christians will be, thus, Bible translation is a task that must be done, and urgently too.

The Bible Society of Nigeria is currently exploring partnerships with influential Christians, churches, and organisations for Bible translation.  Apart from the sheer translation of the Bible into an indigenous language, there is also the aspect of cultural preservation.  As many Nigerian languages are fast going into extinction, due to the absence of literacy materials in those languages, the Bible remains the only bastion of hope for the preservation of such cultures, as a language lost is a culture irredeemably annihilated.  Therefore, Bible translation could just be the first step towards the redemption and preservation of a soul, a community and indeed, the entire nation. 

To learn about how you can partner with the Bible Society of Nigeria in Bible Translation work, kindly call Olugbenga on 08033672696 or email: oludaisi@biblesociety-nigeria.org.