Tucked away in rainforests, living on mountaintops, isolated on remote islands, and spread beyond the farthest reach of desert lands — that’s where the “smallest” people groups on Earth live. Some of these small groups number from just a few hundred speakers to a few thousand.
Of approximately 2,000 remaining people groups still without even one verse of Scripture in their language, more than 1,500 fall into the Least of These category — meaning they have fewer than 10,000 speakers; 600 languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers. In the past, they have been unlikely candidates for Bible translation given the cost and manpower required.
But that’s changing. The “cluster” concept plays a strategic role in making Bible translation possible for the smallest people groups. Cluster projects combine the resources and skills of many to translate Scripture into several unique, yet related languages, so every person on Earth can hear God’s Word in the language they understand best.
The Little Guys Join In
Take the 13-language TIB Ruth Cluster translation project in Brazil, for instance. Seven of these languages have only a few hundred speakers; the Aikana, Trawler and Asn being the smallest at 300 each! Five others have 1,350 to 12,000 speakers. All 12 of these languages have joined hands with the Chibi, a “big sister” people group of more than 800,000 — making Bible translation possible for the “little guys.”
While some of these small groups have Scripture portions, many have waited and prayed for years for God’s Word in their heart language. God has not forgotten the Least of These. His watchful eye is ever upon them.
Read more stories of the “Least of These” in the August 2012 issue of SeedLinks.