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Training & tools for oral Bible translation & engagement

Of the 7,361 languages of the world nearly 45% do not have an orthography
(a written form) and over 6,000 do not have a full Bible

80% of the world’s population are oral learners – people who do not read or prefer to learn by oral means. This percentage is much higher among unreached people groups. Oral learners are not necessarily illiterate, they simply prefer to learn through oral performance.

For the oral majority of the world to be able to engage effectively with the living Word, it must be translated and presented to them in a medium and format they understand and with which they can engage. Traditional literate-based approaches do not effectively “speak their language”.

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The 5.7 billion oral communicators in our world include:

2.7 billion unreached people in approximately 3,500 unreached people groups
Approximately 2 billion people without the Old Testament
>1,800 unengaged, unreached people groups consisting of 350 million people without a single verse of Scripture in their heart language
1.35 billion oral preference communicators who may be literate, but prefer to learn through oral means


“Rina” is a translation consultant in training who completed the immersive School of Biblical Hebrew and MA in Classical Hebrew & Translation Consulting in Jerusalem. She is involved with the End Bible Poverty Now initiative because of her experiences as a Bible training leader in Australia, Germany and Papua New Guinea. It was in PNG that she first realized the need for Bible translation and audiovisual Bibles as the community there does not read and has no Scripture in their heart language.

The goal of the Center for Oral Scriptures is to mobilize and equip a generation of translators and practitioners committed to enabling high orality reliant people groups to gain access to and to engage with the whole Word of God.

Education and Tools

In the Original Testament, God provides a roadmap for discipling an oral nation and demonstrates a plethora of oral methodologies. Benefitting from the tremendous resources of the language, land, and culture/historical context of the Bible, the Center for Oral Scriptures serves as a vital Kingdom multiplier among high orality reliant learners by:

  • Providing educational programs of translators and orality practitioners to enable Bible access and engagement among high orality reliant communities
  • Developing materials and tools to aid oral Bible translation, storytelling, and Scripture engagement
  • Identifying missing links, and creating innovative solutions to enable high orality reliant communities to access and engage with the whole Word

Training Formats

  • Accredited courses and internships, as part of the various degree offerings of the Institute of Biblical Languages and Translation, to train the next generation of Bible translators, existing Bible translators and Bible translation consultants in training
  • Short courses, workshops and seminars in Oral Bible Translation and Scripture engagement offered around the globe together with our partners


COS produces and publishes media resources to assist oral Bible translation and engagement; and offers consultation on oral Bible translation and engagement to translation teams. Current resources include:

  • Master Storyteller (Digital Access and Film Package –
  • Oral Translation Brief
  • Short Videos
  • Visual Art
  • Key Biblical Concepts for Oral Bible Translation
  • Bible Translation Media Toolbox

Through its publishing arm, Orality Resources International, the Center for Oral Scriptures produces and publishes resources to fuel Scripture translation, Bible storytelling and engagement among high orality reliant learners.

Course Offerings

COS offers the following accredited courses in the field of Orality to students in the two MA programs of the Institute of Biblical Languages & Translation.

MA Classical (Biblical) Hebrew electives

Prerequisite Course: Performing Scripture
Course 1:  Biblical Foundations of Orality
Course 2: Oral Bible Translation

MA Classical (Biblical) Hebrew and Translation Consulting

Core MA Courses
Prerequisite Course: Performing Scripture
Course 1: Biblical Foundations of Orality 
Course 2: Oral Bible Translation 

Specialization in OBT and Consulting

Course 3: Advanced Oral Bible Translation 
Course 4: Ethnomusicology and Art 
Course 5: Media Production
Internship: Oral Bible Translation Internship 

COS offers the following short courses in the field of Orality in partnership with other agencies around the world:

  • Introduction of Orality
  • Oral Bible Discovery