The General Secretary of the Bible Society of Nigeria, Pastor Samuel Sanusi has disclosed that Bible has only been translated into about 30 of the almost 500 languages and dialects in Nigeria.
He also informed that Efik is the first language Bible in Nigeria.
Pastor Sanusi made the disclosure at the closing ceremony of the 90-day Lagos Scripture challenge on Saturday, October 30. The event was held at the Agape Generation International Church, Maryland, Lagos
The BSN is one of the organizations that collaborated with Faith Comes By Hearing and other para-church bodies to actualise the 90-day challenge.
Sanusi acknowledged the work and sacrifice of Mary Slessor. in the spread of the gospel in the south-south
While noting that the Scripture Challenge had cost FCBH a lot of money he said, “if some Nigerians have been asked to pay for the challenge, it perhaps would not have been possible.
“But FCBH spent millions of dollars to make it a reality. There is a need for us not to only be a receiver but a giver to the cause of the gospel. Africans need to rise up to support the gospel.
He specifically called on church leaders to support Bible translation noting the first set of language Bibles in Nigeria were solely done by foreigners.
“No Calabar man or Akwa Ibom man has his one kobo in Efik Bible which was the first language Bible to be translated in 1862 for the New Testament and 1868 for the Old Testament. Yoruba Bible was the second language Bible published in 1884. No Yoruba man had his dime in the Bible.
“The Igbo Bible was published in 1906, none of us supported that one. The Hausa Bible came in 1932. Some Nigerians supported that one. Unfortunately, we feel since we can speak English we don’t need to translate Bible again.
“But there are still many Nigerians who can’t speak or read English. Apart from that, there are those who are blind and deaf who need to also read Bible. But we are not rising up to the occasion.”
He said church leaders have a lot of work to do to support the spread of the gospel in Africa. “We also need to raise support for the translation of the Bible. This will make the word of God reach remote villages where English is not spoken.”
He recalled his visit to the village where Slessor lived while in Nigeria. “In that village, I had the opportunity of worshiping in the church where Mary Slessor worshiped while she was in Nigeria.
“This woman left the comfort of Scotland, got into a Ship and came to Nigeria, and went to the remotest part of the country to do missions. We need more people like her in our country today. Unfortunately, many of us are no longer interested in missions.”
Read also: Lagos Scripture challenge ends with incredible testimonies, praises: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/lagos-scripture-challenge-ends/