What is Pioneer Bible Translators?

I have mentioned the name of Pioneer Bible Translators many times in my articles, the mission agency that I am a member of, but I have not given much background on it.  So I thought I would share something that our current President, Greg Pruett, said in one of his articles.  He sums up some of the primary distinctions of our mission and what we hope to achieve through prayer and the power of God.

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Greg wrote this a year ago, and sets the backdrop of what PBT is all about by starting with this story:

The passion in his eyes drew my full attention. I could tell from the sheer concentration on my friend’s face that he was about to make a once-in-a-lifetime statement: “I can’t imagine any way to explain how grateful I am. For as long as I live, I will never be able to tell you the thanks I have in my heart for this New Testament in my own language.

Sometimes I think about it at night. I used to read the Bible in English or in French, and I could understand a little bit, but now when I read this New Testament, the meaning just comes right into my mind.” Pioneer Bible Translators’ ultimate aim, our vision, is to strive together with our partners for the day when God’s Word will be transforming lives in every language on earth.

Greg then goes on to share the core values of PBT:

The Need

Every person on earth has the right to a Bible that he or she can understand. Jesus said that people cannot truly live except by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Yet 350 million people —speaking more than 2,200 languages—are completely Bible-less, without access to even one portion of Scripture. Another one billion people do not yet have a New Testament available in the language they understand best. How long will they wait to encounter the story of God’s love for them?

Our Roots

Pioneer Bible Translators started discipling the Bible-less in 1976. With our roots in the Restoration Movement, PBT is committed to practicing unity in the body of Christ with Scripture as the sole authority. We promote the restoration of the unity of the Church by mobilizing Christians to work together on the basis of obeying the clearly taught, essential elements of Scripture while allowing for a wide diversity of opinion on matters that Scripture does not make clear.

We seek to mobilize believers who are able to unite around reading and obeying the Bible and making it accessible to people who do not have it. Today, Pioneer Bible Translators bridges the gap between the Church and Bibleless peoples, translating the Word into the heart languages of unreached people to transform lives and grow thriving New Testament churches.

Our Strategy

Pioneer Bible Translators…
• Disciples the Bible-less peoples
• Mobilizes God’s people everywhere
• Provides enduring access to God’s Word
• Maximizes the impact of Scripture to grow the Church

We give our utmost to fulfill the Great Commission through the power of the translated Word of God.

We aspire to help people without God’s Word impact their context with Scripture, equipping them to translate it into their language and use it to transform their community. We consider our ministry among a people complete when a network of churches is using Scripture to grow and multiply. We put together whatever team is needed to help a language group go from Bible-less to Bible impact.

We Send…
• Translators where there is no Scripture.
• Church planters where there is no church to use the Scripture.
• Literacy workers where the people cannot read.
• Community development specialists where the people are closed to Scripture in order to show Christ’s love.
• Skilled support specialists —teachers, builders, administrators and more—to accelerate the mission.

Our Future

If the momentum of the Bible Translation movement continues to build as it has for the last 30 years, then over the next two decades we and our partners will start all the translation projects needed in the world. By 2050, we could live in a world where the New Testament has been translated into every viable language. We are now recruiting and training the generation of missionaries that could leave behind them a world in which the New Testament exists in every language!

If Jesus doesn’t return before then, they will tell their grandchildren, “Kids, it wasn’t always like it is today. There was a time when not everyone could have the Bible in their language.” We in PBT are giving our lives to leave that legacy. But it’s not enough to crank out Scripture—we want the Bible to transform lives.

That’s why we are now planning for our future by asking the question, “What does PBT need to become—what do we need to bring to the Bible translation movement—to see a network of churches using Scripture to grow and multiply in every language group on earth in the coming decades?” If this generation rises to the challenge, the goal is within our reach! God has placed it within our reach.

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These are exciting days for sure.  I have been part of PBT for 16 years now, and I have seen it grow from a small mission with two offices rooms and about 100 missionaries working in primarily three regions of the world, to a mission that is based out of two building (one just brand new), and has over 300 missionaries working in countries all over the world.

How could such a transformation happen?  Only by the grace of God and the power of prayer.  And as Greg says, the purpose of our existence as a mission is not to grow the mission, but to transform the lives and hearts of individuals in every distinct culture and linguistic group of people around the world.

Stay tuned as I share much more from this point forward about Pioneer Bible Translators.  Both in my “Who Am I?” personal life journey stories, as well as current day happenings in this mission.  But in anything I write, ultimately, I want to give all the honor and glory to God who is doing these great things through us who are merely His servants.  Praise be to God.

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