Bible Society in Northern Ireland

Global Scripture Access

Global Scripture Access 2017Global Scripture Access 2017

Every year more people are being reached with the Bible. People are receiving it in their heart language, in braille, in sign language and in digital formats. Each year there are exciting advancements in the world of Bible mission and we thank God that he invites us to be a part of it. Read on to discover how the Bible has been made available to millions of people for the very first time…




In 2016, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 61 languages spoken by over 428 million people.

2016 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 30 languages, spoken by over 95 million people. 17 communities now have their very first Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 7 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today. In 2016, this resulted in a further 28 new translations and revisions plus 3 study editions with the potential to reach over 333 million people.

Global Scripture Access 2017Global Scripture Access 2017









Braille Scriptures

85 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, of whom 40 million are blind. A Braille Bible usually consists of more than 40 bulky volumes, making the transcription and production a significant undertaking. To date only 44 languages have a full Bible in Braille. In 2016, new Braille portions were made available in Spanish (Dios Habla Hoy), German and Kirundi.

Sign Language Scriptures

Sign Languages are the first or ‘heart’ language for 70 million Deaf people worldwide and there are over 400 unique sign languages. The New Testament is only available in American Sign Language and this is the largest portion of Scripture currently available in any sign language. The UBS, in close partnership with other international ministries, is seeking to meet this Scripture need for what is now recognised as a major unreached people group. Bible Societies are currently partners in 16 ongoing projects and another 9 are in the planning stages. In total, these projects have the potential to reach 12.1 million Deaf people who so far have no access to the Bible in their sign language.

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Scripture Access Today*

There are currently 6,880 languages in the world spoken by over 7.4 billion people.
648 languages (spoken by over 5.1 billion people) now have a complete Bible and a further 1,432 languages (spoken by 657 million people) have a New Testament. This leaves 434 million people with only some portions of Scripture and a further 253 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.
Global Scripture Access 2017

Scripture Access and Engagement

The increasing use of the internet offers people greater choice in how and where they connect with the Bible. The Digital Bible Library® (DBL) is central to our strategy to make the Bible as widely and easily accessible as possible. By the end of 2016, the DBL contained 1,474 Bibles, Testaments and portions in 1,134 languages. These languages are spoken by over 5.2 billion people. Significant progress was made last year in adding audio Scriptures, so there are now 403 audio Scriptures in 345 different languages.

All of these statistics have been compiled by United Bible Societies and can be found in the full Global Scripture Access Report
* Figures as at 31.12.2016. We thank Bible Societies, Wycliffe Global Alliance and progress.BibleTMfor their help in compiling these statistics. 6880 languages (7099 languages less 219 languages with no reported first language speakers – Ethnologue). Figures for the number of first language speakers are based on the best available data, which in 2016 totalled 6.5 billion, less than the actual world population of over 7.4 billion.

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