In 1971, The Coca-Cola Company launched their ad campaign: “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” This campaign was recently reinstated, employing a “secret mobile marketing weapon” to reach today’s digital consumers. So, what kind of progress are they making in their quest to sell the world’s favorite soda in every corner of the globe?
Right now, their refreshing cola can be found in all but two countries: Cuba and North Korea. As the winds of change continue to blow, this number could soon be reduced to just one. The soft drink giant reports, “94% of the world’s population recognizes our red and white logo.”
Faith Comes By Hearing collaborates with organizations across the globe to provide something that is unsurpassed in quenching the spiritual thirst of mankind – heart language Audio Bibles. Our quest to cover the world with the Word is not about making our name known, but rather about making the name of Jesus Christ known and recognized across the Earth through the life-changing power of Scripture.
To do this, we are passionately engaged in recording every available translation of the Bible and providing it – for free – through both current and emerging technologies.
Every Context – Recordings
Scripture recordings are primarily done through a traditional approach: a partner organization’s team goes to the people group’s location and works with as many as 26 readers, or as few as 1, to produce a recording.
While recordings are often fully dramatized with multiple voices, music, and sound effects, sometimes they are done using a single voice with no enhancements. These choices depend on the availability of readers and the cultural preferences of the people group.
Whenever it is not feasible to do a traditional field recording, an innovative technology such as Virtual Recording (VR) can be used instead. The VR website allows people with Internet access to audition, receive character assignments, and submit lines for specific projects from anywhere in the world.
Every Person – Engagement
Whether you’re driving down the road, doing your morning run, making breakfast, hurrying to your next appointment, or putting your precious children to bed, the Scriptures are at your fingertips – in audio or video – through many channels:
- Bible.is app on your smartphone or tablet
- Bible.is online
- Internet radio
- Dedicated digital devices like BibleSticks or Proclaimers
- Micro-SD cards for feature phones
- Smart TVs
- Satellites (in process)
Even more inspiring is this: given the speed at which technology and connectivity are spreading across the globe, these options are no longer limited to a small fraction of humanity. Wherever people live – a village in Southeast Asia, the desert of North Africa, the heart of the Amazon jungle, or high in the Himalayas – access to God’s Word may already be available and will only continue to increase.
Currently, more than 500 software developers are drawing from robust Bible content through our Digital Bible Platform and presenting it in innovative ways via a host of media – giving people everywhere the broadest possible connection to the life-changing Word of God.
And, while millions of people are already listening or watching, new technologies and processes that will help us expand the availability of God’s Word are constantly being developed. As the delivery methods become faster and more economical, it is our hope that fewer and fewer people will face significant barriers to personal Scripture engagement.
At this moment, some 6 billion people from at least 919 distinct language communities in 190 countries have an Audio Bible available to them in their heart language – if they have access and know where to look. Building greater awareness of these amazing resources is imperative. Additional Scripture recordings are also in various stages of completion at studios and field locations around the world.
After learning of the need, and struggling with how to provide access to the Bible for the Deaf, we were blessed and honored to work closely with Deaf Bible Society (DBS). Using our Bible.is app as a foundation, the Deaf Bible app was created to display Video Bible translations from DBS partners. To date, the app has served more than 530,000 people with God’s Word in 17 available sign languages and DBS has since expanded their reach to include various media products, platforms, and providers.
Even though hundreds of ministry partners, both local and global, have advanced their missions through the use of Audio Bibles, the task ahead is much bigger than what’s been done so far. Though huge strides have been made, the continuing need is enormous:
- More than 1,000 New Testaments and 950 Scripture portions are currently waiting to be recorded.
- Bible translation organizations have identified another 1,800 distinct languages without a single verse of Scripture that still need to be translated.
Thankfully, these agencies are now deliberately and determinedly working together to launch innovative translation programs to overcome this critical deficit as quickly as possible. And we are also doing our best to increase funding for Bible recording projects worldwide – so we can get caught up and then keep up.
However, Bibles in print and audio can only go so far in communicating the Good News: they are of little use to the 70-million-plus Deaf people globally. The lack of relevant content is truly alarming; there are at least 400 different sign languages used around the world and many of them are years away from the launch of an official Scripture translation project.
Many Have Not Been Served
Some years back, there was a large gathering of ministers. After they had received the bread and wine for the Lord’s Supper, the pastor asked, “Has everyone been served?”
To everyone’s surprise, one of the ministers stood to his feet and said in a thundering voice, “No sir. There are millions of people in Vietnam who have not been served.”
Someone else stood. Naming his own town, he said, “Sir, there are 5,000 people that have not been served.”
This scene went on for 5 or 10 more minutes, with people spontaneously declaring over and over that many had still not been served.
Covering the World
Millions of people who speak thousands of languages are still waiting to be served – they are still waiting for the Word of God in their heart languages. They are thirsty, just waiting for the Living Water that will quench that thirst.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well about some special water: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
At the end of the Bible, we find these words: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).
But how will those who are thirsty know it, unless they can hear, see, or read God’s Word in their heart language? As the prophet Habakkuk declares: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
Until every person in every language community can access the Word of God, not everyone has been served; not every thirst has been quenched; and the world has not been covered with the Word. But each of us can help quench the thirst of those waiting to hear – and each of us can help cover the world with the Word of God!