Bible Translation Review

About The Review

In the light of various controversies about Bible translation, Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International approached the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) in March 2012 to independently review their best practice in the translation of “God the Father” and the “Son of God.” The WEA formed an independent Panel that has concluded its work and issued its report with recommendations for Wycliffe and SIL in 2013.

The independent Panel’s mandate was to “review SIL’s translation practices, setting boundaries for theologically acceptable translation methodology particularly in Muslim contexts, and suggesting how to practically implement these recommendations.”

Following the publication of the report, the WEA established an Oversight Group upon Wycliffe and SIL’s request to review the ongoing compliance with the panel’s recommendations. At its third meeting in December 2016, the Oversight Group affirmed Wycliffe and SIL’s translation guidelines.

For any inquiries about the translation review and its process, please contact us at communications@worldea.org

Panel Experts

BIBLE TRANSLATION REVIEW PANEL (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

  • Milton Acosta, Old Testament
  • Donald Fairbairn, Early Christianity and Historical Theology
  • Atef Gendy, New Testament
  • Ida Glaser, Biblical and Islamic Studies
  • Rob Haskell, Systematic Theology
  • Karen Jobes, New Testament
  • Ghassan Khalaf, Biblical Studies and Theology
  • Melba Padilla Maggay, Social Anthropology
  • Scott Moreau, Intercultural Studies
  • Kang-San Tan, Mission Studies
  • Roland Werner, African Linguistics & Theology
  • Dudley Woodberry, Mission Studies
  • Robert Cooley, Panel Moderator

OVERSIGHT GROUP

  • Dr. Scott Moreau (Chair), Professor of Intercultural Studies and Associate Dean of Wheaton Graduate School, Wheaton College, USA
  • Dr. Donald Fairbairn, Professor of Early Christianity and Academic Dean, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary—Charlotte, USA
  • Dr. Atef Gendy, President, Evangelical Theological Seminary and Professor of New Testament, Cairo, Egypt
  • Dr. Ida Glaser, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford and Director of The Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Ekram Lamie Hennawie, Professor of Comparative Religions, Moderator, Presbyterian Synod of the Nile, Egypt
  • Dr. Mark Hausfeld, President, Professor of Urban and Islamic Studies, and Director of Center for Islamic Studies, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Evangel University, USA.
  • Dr. Roland Werner, Secretary General, YMCA of Germany and Expert African Linguistics and Theology, Germany

Reports & Findings

BIBLE TRANSLATION REVIEW PANEL – FINAL REPORT WITH 10 RECOMMENDATIONS

We, as a panel appointed by the World Evangelical Alliance, have been charged with the task of auditing the Wycliffe and SIL practices related to the translation of divine familial terms. These terms include principally (but not exclusively) the word for “father” used in reference to God and the word for “son” and the phrase for ”Son of God” used in reference to Jesus. […]

Download Full Report (pdf, 33 pages)

DIVINE FAMILIAL TERMS TRANSLATION PROCEDURES – DECEMBER 2016

This document, Divine Familial Terms Translation Procedures, guides translators, translation consultants, and other translation program personnel in the technical decision-making processes for the selection and testing of appropriate terms for “father” and “son of God” in Muslim contexts. This document and the processes explained therein were developed in accordance with the recommendations of the panel named by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and are approved by the WEA Oversight Group (December 2016). Please refer either to the Executive Summary for an overview or to the complete document for the detailed procedures.

For any questions related to the Oversight Group’s work, contact weaog@worldea.org

Download “Divine Familial Terms Translation Procedures: Executive Summary” (pdf, 4 pages)

Download “Divine Familial Terms Translation Procedures” – complete (pdf, 88 pages)

Media Releases

WEA DIVINE FAMILIAL TERMS OVERSIGHT GROUP AFFIRMS WYCLIFFE AND SIL’S BIBLE TRANSLATION GUIDELINES

– FEBRUARY 21, 2017

The Divine Familial Terms Oversight Group, a group of independent experts facilitated by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), held its third meeting to provide feedback to Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International concerning technical guidelines for Bible translators….


WEA DIVINE FAMILIAL TERMS OVERSIGHT GROUP PROVIDES FEEDBACK TO WYCLIFFE AND SIL ON BIBLE TRANSLATION GUIDELINES

– JANUARY 23, 2015

The Divine Familial Terms Oversight Group, a group of independent experts facilitated by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), has now given feedback to Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International about technical guidelines for Bible translators….


WEA FACILITATES FORMATION OF DIVINE FAMILIAL TERMS OVERSIGHT GROUP; ANNOUNCES NAMES OF GROUP MEMBERS

– APRIL 4, 2014

At the request of Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has agreed to facilitate the formation and maintenance of a Divine Familial Terms Oversight Group (DFTOG)….


WEA INDEPENDENT BIBLE TRANSLATION REVIEW PANEL CLARIFIES ITS REFERENCE TO ‘COMMUNICATING GOD’S WORD IN A COMPLEX WORLD’

– MAY 28, 2013

It has come to the Panel’s attention that many people are wondering whether, given the fact that the report cites only one book (Shaw and Van Engen, Communicating God’s Word in a Complex World [Rowan & Littlefield, 2002])….


WEA INDEPENDENT BIBLE TRANSLATION REVIEW PANEL CONCLUDES ITS WORK, ISSUES REPORT WITH TEN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WYCLIFFE AND SIL

– APRIL 29, 2013

“The WEA agreed to facilitate this independent review because of the vital importance of Bible translation,” said Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA. “We are delighted that this intense review has now been concluded.”


WEA ANNOUNCES NAMES OF PANEL EXPERTS AND SCHEDULE FOR BIBLE TRANSLATION REVIEW

– SEPTEMBER 28, 2012

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) announces the names of the twelve experts who will serve as members of the independent Panel that will review SIL and Wycliffe’s translation practices of ‘Divine Familial Terms’. The global group of scholars from Eastern and Western locations represents Biblical, Theological, Missiological and Anthropological expertise and includes national believers from countries with majority Muslim population…..


WEA ANNOUNCES DR. ROBERT E. COOLEY AS CHAIRMAN OF WYCLIFFE AND SIL REVIEW PANEL

– MAY 9, 2012

Dr. Robert E. Cooley, president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, will chair the independent panel reviewing translation standards of Wycliffe and SIL International, the World Evangelical Alliance announced today…..


WEA TO FORM INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL ON WYCLIFFE AND SIL BIBLE TRANSLATION

– MARCH 27, 2012

In the light of certain controversies about Bible translation, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), as a respected and trusted global evangelical association, has been asked to form a panel to independently review Wycliffe and SIL International’s translation of “God the Father” and the “Son of God.”….