How to Find Bibles and Scripture Resources
Scripture is available in almost 3,400 languages. Some languages have a complete Bible, some a New Testament, some Scripture portions. In addition to written text versions (both print and digital) there are a number of related products including videos and audio recordings. Several online resources are useful for finding Scripture products in various languages. Whether you are looking for print or digital formats, text or audio/video, if it is available it can likely be found through one of the resources below.
Scripture search tools
A good place to start is with Find.Bible or ScriptureEarth.org. Both serve as search directories that provide links to outside sources (online or print-on-demand), as well as being sources themselves of online or downloadable Scriptures (text and audio/video). Both ScriptureEarth.org and Find.Bible can be searched by country as well as by language name, and include alternate names for many languages.
Find-a-Bible (Find.Bible), sponsored by the Forum of Bible Agencies International and managed by the Digital Bible Society, lists major sources of Scripture in many of the nearly 3,400 languages in which some or all of the Bible is available (downloadable pdf, links to online or print-on-demand versions, or audio or video Scripture).
ScriptureEarth.org, sponsored by Wycliffe Canada, provides links to print, audio and video Scriptures available online. It also makes a large number of minority language Scriptures available in a range of formats such as pdf and modules for use in some Bible study software and links to individual apps. These have the advantage of being more easily copied from phone to phone in areas where access to the internet is difficult.
Finding print copies of Scripture
Most Alliance Organizations do not sell Bibles, but they may have information about sources within their own countries. Printed Scriptures are usually available through Bible societies and online bookstores. Some translations are available via print-on-demand, and can be found by searching ScriptureEarth.org or Find.Bible.
More and more Scripture is available in digital form either by searching online or through apps. The digital versions will nearly always include details of the publisher and author or copyright holder and so enable you to search for print copies available for purchase in your region or that can be ordered online.
Bible.is, a ministry of Faith Comes By Hearing, can be accessed online or via the app. Bible.is combines Scripture text with audio recordings in over 1400 languages. In addition, in partnership with LUMO, Bible.is provides video content of the four Gospels, so that readers can read, hear and (for these four Scripture books) see a visual dramatization of Scripture.
YouVersion’s Bible app (also available at Bible.com) had over 2020 versions in nearly 1400 languages at the beginning of 2020. Many versions can be downloaded from the app for offline use. The site and app also have over 50 interface languages.
Most languages where Scripture is available digitally are available on both of these sites but for now there are still a few available on one and not the other.
Video and Deaf Scripture
The JESUS Film (based on the Gospel of Luke) has been produced in more than 1800 languages. Most of these can be viewed online at JesusFilm.org or through one of the following apps: Jesus Film Project app, YouVersion’s Bible app (or at Bible.com), or Faith Comes By Hearing’s Bible.is app. The Jesus Film Project also produces a growing number of other video products, which can be viewed online as well at JesusFilm.org or on YouTube.
LUMO provides video dramatizations of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with narration of the full Gospel text in various languages. Faith Comes By Hearing is dubbing these into hundreds of languages available via Bible.is with many also available on YouVersion’s Bible app (or at Bible.com) and YouTube.
Deaf.Bible, the sign language Scripture app of Deaf Bible Society, provides access to sign language Scriptures in 27 sign languages so far. Download the app from Deaf Bible Society’s website or view online.
New-Neighbour-Bible.org is designed to help churches become aware of resources and languages spoken by refugees and other ‘new neighbours’. It has less languages than the bigger directories but gives more information about those languages and links to a wider range of resources. It is currently available in English, French, German and Italian.
Finally, a new site tastesee.org helps mission agencies, churches and communities who are looking to create new products navigate through some of the many products available and consider what could most help in their context.
What to do if you can’t find Scripture online in a particular language
- Keep searching. It might be available under a different name or with a different spelling. You can also ask your local Bible society or Wycliffe Global Alliance organisation.
- It might not be online yet. In about 80% of the languages in which there is a full Bible or New Testament, some or all of at least one translation is available online. The percentage is lower for languages in which only portions exist but this is changing. Translation agencies and publishers are working hard to make more of the existing Scriptures available. In some cases older Scriptures only exist in print and volunteers are needed to retype them and prepare them for release digitally.
- There are still many languages where translation is in progress or has yet to be started. You might be key in seeing that translation to completion, either through being part of the translation team or by partnering through prayer, finances or sharing the vision for translation with churches. You may also prepare the ground by connecting with others eagerly awaiting the translation. Contact your local Alliance organisation to learn how to become involved.
Thanks to Peter Brassington of SIL International for contributing to this article.
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