Wycliffe Bible Translators

Wycliffe Bible Translators / Wycliffe USA

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Wycliffe Bible Translators

Wycliffe Bible TranslatorsWycliffe Bible Translators was founded in 1942 by William Cameron Townsend, who named it after John Wycliffe, the Englishman who translated the Bible from Latin Vulgate into English in the 14th century. Wycliffe Bible Translators' stated mission is to translate the Bible into all languages that do not yet have the Bible.

Wycliffe Bible Translators was one global entity until 1991, when it became an association, named "Wycliffe International," of independent national organizations. It reorganized again in 2011 as "Wycliffe Global Alliance" but remains known to most as Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Wycliffe USA remains by far the largest national organization.

Today, Wycliffe Global Alliance / Wycliffe Bible Translators trains Bible translators through SIL International (formerly Summer Institute of Linguistics), sends Bible translating missionaries, supports people doing Bible translations into their own languages through The Seed Company (a subsidiary of Wycliffe USA), operates aviation service through JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service), and provides humanitarian aid.


Wycliffe Bible Translators is big, with over 7,000 translators, teachers, pilots, and aid workers. It is the world's largest trainer of professional Bible translators, while Wycliffe USA is the third highest-funded religious charity in USA (source: Forbes magazine) with 2020 revenues of $227 million, up from $193 million in 2017.


1.  Wycliffe Bible Translators' "Bibles" blaspheme God to appease Muslims.

To make the Bible friendly to Muslims, who deny the Trinity, Wycliffe Bible Translators' SIL translation projects aimed at Muslims are removing references to God the Father as "Father," and to Jesus as the "Son" or the "Son of God." Instead, God the Father is being translated as "Allah," "Guardian" or "Great Protector," while "Son of God" is translated as "Representative of God," "Beloved one from God" or "Messiah of God," which aligns with the Koran’s "Isa al-Masih" ("Jesus the Messiah").

For example, Matthew 28:19's "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" has been translated as, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, cleansing them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit."*

Notice that in the translation, "in the name of" doesn't necessarily apply to "Messiah" and the "Holy Spirit." And while "Allah" could be the abbreviation of "al," which means "the," and "ilah," which means "god," in Arabic to mean "the god," the "Allah" of Islam and the Koran is the pagan moon idol of ancient Mecca, not the triune God of the Bible. Moreover, the Muslim "Messiah" is a human prophet who is inferior to Muhammad, and what cleanses us from sin isn't "water" but the blood of Jesus, who is God the "Son."

These blasphemous translations are producing false converts who boost statistics and provide glowing success stories that stimulate fundraising in USA but are also immunizing them against the true Gospel. According to the Southern Baptist Convention (see International Mission Board), there are tens of thousands of "Isa al-Masih jamaats," or "Jesus the Messiah congregations" in northern Africa whose members call themselves Muslims, don't believe in the Trinity, and believe Muhammad is a prophet of God (source).


2.  Wycliffe Bible Translators supports the expansion of Roman Catholicism.

John Wycliffe was vehemently anti-Vatican but the organization Cameron Townsend named after him is unabashedly pro-Vatican. Wycliffe Bible Translators trains Roman Catholic translators, who then compete against Protestant translators and missionaries in the field, and even fly them around for free:

"I believe in working with anyone who will help get the Bible to the Indians. ... One of the heroes whom I admire the most is the celebrated Father Bartolome de las Casas. This worthy Dominican, as all well remember, made use of the Sacred History in the Indian languages of Guatemala in order to draw the Indians to the faith and to peace." - Cameron Townsend, Eternity Magazine, November 1971.

"One of our airplanes spent three days carrying various persons to the dedication of the new church of the Dominican Mission El Rosario [of the Rosary]. Among the distinguished passengers were two Catholic priests and a bishop. No charge was made for the transportation of these missionaries. It is an honor to serve them." - Cameron Townsend as quoted in a Peruvian newspaper article in Lima, Peru.

3.  Wycliffe Bible Translators makes misleading claims.

Wycliffe Bible Translators claims, "At least 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible in their language - that’s more people than the entire continent of Africa!" (https://www.wycliffe.org/about/why). The Bible has yet to be translated into about half of the world's 7,000 or so languages, but all of these remaining languages are spoken by only a few dozen to a few thousand people, the vast majority of whom are at least bilingual and speak at least one other language into which the Bible already has been translated (e.g., the members of a "reached" tribe in the Amazon jungle who now also speak Spanish). The people, typically old, who only speak the Bible-less languages are estimated to total only about 10 million worldwide (source), not "1.5 billion people," which is an exaggeration to keep over $200 million flowing into Wycliffe Bible Translation every year.

4.  Wycliffe Bible Translators' translation model is expensive and slow.

The typical Wycliffe Bible translator is a Westerner who goes to a distant land to first learn the local language, create a written form of it if it doesn't exist, and then translate the Bible into it. This typically takes 25 to 30 years and about $2,000,000 if the average annual cost to support the Western translator is $70,000. This is too long and costly, and if the Western translator dies or returns early, someone else must be dispatched to restart the process.

Wycliffe USA does own The Seed Company, which trains and supports local translators and states (https://theseedcompany.org/), "Every $35 you give helps translate one verse of Scripture." The 31,102 verses in the Bible x $35 equals about $1 million, and sequentially translating all 66 books of the Bible takes over a decade even for a local translator. While halving the time and cost to translate the Bible is good, $1 million and over a decade still take too much money and time, especially since most of the languages that still do not have a Bible are expected to become extinct in the next 30 to 40 years.

Is there a faster, more efficient way?

See Wycliffe Associates.