Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in the illumiNations movement. Browse this
page for frequently asked questions or contact us directly below.

Local teams comprised of multilingual translators (experts in their preferred language) receive training, technology and support to translate from one language to another. Linguistic and exegetical complexities are overcome through training, consulting, editing and community checking.

Bible translation costs vary based on the complexity and context of the translation project. Annual operating expenses can vary greatly in different parts of the world and for different portions of Scripture. On average, a translation project costs $60k per year.

The portions of Scripture most likely to create immediate impact for church planting, worship, discipleship, and social justice issues often represent initial translation goals. Goals differ depending on the spiritual, religious, social, economic, and historical context of the language community.

Often oral Bible stories are the first Scripture products translated for use in oral cultures. This builds capacity and momentum toward literate translation or audio translation of God’s Word.

IIlumiNations is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) and section 170(b)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law. IllumiNations Tax ID: 83-3552306.

Ultimately, God’s church must decide. There are over 7,300 languages globally and illumiNations advocates for every verse in every language to be translated in as many versions with as many revisions in each language as is responsive to the expressed need of God’s church. We call this the Every Verse Current Goal. As a strategic means to that end, the primary operational focus of the illumiNations alliance forms around the current 6,000+ languages with an estimated vitality that suggests Scripture translation is needed. Translation of Scripture in these 6,000+ languages by 2033 is what we refer to as the All Access Goals.

In early 2020, illumiNations leadership analyzed the trajectory toward the All Access Goals and concluded that the current pace was insufficient to meet the goals. IllumiNations launched a committee tasked with discovering
“what must change” to align pace and trajectory to the goals. Ten change initiatives emerged across four themes: 
1.  Bolster unity and alignment
2. Broaden involvement (of other organizations / participants)
3. Fuel innovation
4. Sharpen planning and implementation.

IllumiNations first emerged among a collection of partners largely based in the west, but God seems to be expanding illumiNations globally. Regional alliances are convening around the world with emerging intent to share what God is doing to eradicate Bible poverty in their own context. Current movement expansions are evident in Asia, South Africa, and Europe.

The Biblical mandate is clear: to reach every nation, every language, and every people group with the message of the Scriptures.

Of the more than 7,000 languages currently spoken in the world today, approximately 3,500 of these languages have limited or no access to Scripture. These are not just numbers; they are individual people without access to the life-giving, life-changing hope and power of God’s Word. Each language is unique and perfectly suited for the person who uses it, thinks in it, dreams in it, and identifies with it. While many people may learn additional languages for trade or other purposes, they need the Scriptures in the language they learned first – the language of their hearts – their mother tongue language. They need to know that God speaks their language.

Timelines vary based on the complexity and context of the translation project. Political, social, economic, religious, logistical, technological, and linguistic elements influence the pace. A clear, accurate, natural rendering of the New Testament takes about seven years. A full Bible takes about 16 years. Training, technology, and local capacity accelerate the pace.

The local community represented by the local church. In areas where God’s church is not yet formed, mission partners work with the local community to establish the church and collaborate to confirm the need for Bible translation.

There are over 350 sign languages globally. Sign Language Bible translation is done as a video series, either of select chronological Bible stories or of complete books of the Bible. In 2020, we celebrated the first sign language to have all 66 books, Genesis to Revelation, completed in American Sign Language.

The organizations involved in Bible translation are also involved in other related works like multilingual education, linguistic research, language development, Scripture-based trauma healing, Scripture publication, Scripture distribution, Scripture engagement, and many other activities that support the work. Not all the income of the Bible agencies gets invested in the direct translation of verses because each agency approaches the task with a unique mission strategy and scope of activities. All donations to this website do get invested in direct verse translation.
If designated to specific languages, your investment will be mobilized to support respective translation projects over the life of the translation work (i.e. mobilized over several years to the full extent of the investment and/or completion of the project); or if not designated to specific languages, your investment will be mobilized across multiple translation projects to support current, active, and ongoing translation costs (i.e. mobilized upon receipt to maintain movement-wide momentum and sustainability).

It is important to understand the All Access Goals in the context of the broader Every Verse Current Goal. Our advocacy for the Every Verse Current Goal means we envision translation work continuing long after 2033. However, strategic translation of Scripture (even if only a catalytic portion), in the world’s vital languages, creates access for all people by 2033 and establishes catalytic moorings for the Every Verse Current Goal. The All Access Goals are pursued as summarized below:

By 2033…

● 95% of the world’s population will have access to a full Bible in a language they understand best (vital languages estimated to have a speaker population greater than 500k)

● 99.96% of the world’s population will have access to a New Testament – or equivalent portion of Scripture (vital languages estimated to have a speaker population of greater than 5k but less than 500k)

● 100% of the world’s population will have access to some portion of Scripture – estimated 25 chapters (vital languages estimated to have a speaker population of less than 5k)

● The world’s top 100 most strategic written languages will have 2 full Bible Translations

The goal to eradicate Bible poverty is a God-sized goal that no one (or 11) organizations can do on their own. That’s why we celebrate the growth of the movement through expanded partnerships. IllumiNations organizations are actively working with their vast networks to accelerate Bible translation. Many other organizations are rising up to join the movement.

Language… it binds us together but, ever since the tower of Babel, it’s been driving us apart. God’s Word is foundational to faith. Yet the global Church did not begin reaching minority people [language] groups with Scriptures until well after the reformation (1517 – 1648), and then only in a few languages. The result: millions of people, within the 7,000+ people groups around the world, were (still are) stranded without God’s Word in their mother tongue.
Donors are inspired and motivated by and give largely to vision, leadership and momentum – opportunity for great, leveraged impact. They are looking for efficiency, collaboration and big vision. IllumiNations represents the best of these things; it illustrates the greatest vision in the Bible, the primary Biblical mandate to the Church, fulfillment of the Great Commission and that day when the Gospel will have actually been preached everywhere – it will have reached the ends of the earth. IllumiNations represents a community rallied around this huge vision; it’s the collaboration of the leading Bible translation work on earth touching 90+% of all Bible translation in the movement. IllumiNations represents the Church, as the Body of Christ, galvanizing this vision in the form of both donors and translation professionals, which is a great picture of the complimentary parts of the Body working together as God designed. IllumiNations represents accountability that is found in collective impact alliances but not necessarily singular institutional fundraising etc.

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