This is a bold, ridiculous statement.
It is almost undeniably audacious. Silly, even.
What do I mean by Bible poverty?
I think of poverty in terms of scarcity — lack of reasonable, unaided access to resources needed to thrive. Wikipedia (love it? hate it?) says:
Poverty is being unable to afford basic human needs, such as clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty.
So, this would suggest that “Bible poverty” is being unable to access Scripture. The barrier might be that God’s Word is not available in the only language you know or not available in the language you understand best. Other barriers include non-literacy and illiteracy as well as various cultural and civil sanctions relative to Scripture engagement.
Think of poverty in terms of not having any food to eat as well as not having access to adequate (in quantity and/or quality) food to eat. Bible poverty includes both those who don’t have any Scripture and those whose access is severely limited by other barriers.
In these food terms, there is a second kind of Bible poverty — some people are suffering from Biblical anorexia or bulimia. But, that is a story for another day.
I believe that Bible poverty is a justice issue. There are systems in place which keep the impoverished poor and there are systems not in place which could provide the riches of God’s Word for those currently without which simply lack resource.
The fact that there are people who can not hear, in God’s words, of His love and redemptive plan for them in the language and form they can best understand is unacceptable. Period.
Those of us who are in positions of power (and if you are reading this, there is a better than not chance that you are) can address this issue, by God’s grace, as we work together.
We are currently experiencing the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation the Church has ever witnesses. If this pace can be sustained, we will see a significant barrier to God’s Word eradicated in this generation.
Jesus is the one who said that the Kingdom of God is like the shepherd who left the 99 to seek the 1. Wycliffe and our partners world-wide consider it a great privilege to participate with the Good Shepherd in breaking down barriers and setting the one free through Bible translation.
In case you missed this video in my blog from two months ago, I’ll include it here. It’s a great next piece of the conversation.
Vodpod videos no longer available.