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Under-developed area gains access to the Bible

Note: This article first appeared on page 33 in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Alliance Connection magazine.

For several years, I have been part of a Bible translation team in the Asian Spice Region. My role is to help automate the publishing process and distribute the Scriptures in ways that make them easily accessible to the people among whom we live.

Where we live, there was only an old, hard-to-understand, heavy, print Bible in the language of our people. Our translation team has been working on a more modern translation for those with a limited level of literacy. A few months ago, we completed the first draft of the entire New Testament. It’s a technological chore to convert the translator’s rough notes and data files to something that can be published in both print and digital formats–but that’s only the first challenge.

The second challenge is distributing this newly drafted New Testament and getting it into the hands of the people who need it. You probably know where to get a Bible for a friend. You might order a print Bible online or download a Bible app.

Where we live, it is not an easy or safe task to have print Bibles and ask people to share. However, in this under-developed region, almost everyone has a mobile phone. They may not have plumbing in their homes, but they have access to the world’s latest phones, so we decided to distribute the New Testament via a Bible app.

Working with other translation teams, we are creating Bible apps that contain the New Testament, book introductions, audio recordings, a glossary with illustrations, and introductory commentaries. The apps will be available in various app stores, and people can even share them with their friends.

Pray for this key initiative in taking the Gospel to the least-reached people groups around the world – a Bible that is easy to find, easy to read or hear, and easy to share. The next time you open your Bible, pray. Pray for the translators. Pray that the Bibles they translate would spread like wildfire through the local communities in these difficult to reach places of our world.

Why does almost everyone have a mobile phone in an under-developed region?

As a country develops, it is often easier to skip several generations of telecommunications and instead, make use of the latest technology.

Many rural villages in developing countries don’t have landline telephones. Bringing phone lines to every house would be expensive compared to setting up a few cell towers.

In the past, some villages did have a landline phone that was shared by everyone. But voice and data plans are now quite cheap and don’t require a binding contract. And there are more choices when it comes to purchasing cheap phones.

Under-developed regions have many needs but providing people with a reliable means of communication is a priority for the government and the people themselves. Mobile phones are often the answer to finding an income, staying in touch with family, and simple boredom.

In the end, mobile phones are more important to them than reliable plumbing or healthy food or even adequate healthcare.


Drew’s full name is withheld for security reasons. He is an international worker in the Asian Spice Region, serving in an environment often hostile to spreading the Gospel. Learn more by reading his bio.