COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (BP) – After 38 years, the work of 53 translators is complete – a translation of the whole Bible into American Sign Language (ASL).
The ASL Version (ASLV) project, led by Deaf Missions, marks the first time the Deaf community has access to the entire Bible in ASL.
The project began in 1982 when Deaf Missions founder Duane King began asking why Deaf people did not have access to the Bible in their heart language. The New Testament portion of the Bible was completed in 2004.
The ASLV, a series of videos, can be accessed on the Deaf Missions website and the Deaf Missions Video App.
“God answered the faithful prayers of His people, encouraged us through the generous provision of Deaf Missions supporters and funding partners, blessed us with 53 diligent translators and helped us persevere each step of the way,” Deaf Missions CEO Chad Entinger said in written comments.
The ASLV will serve as a launching pad for the development of other sign language translations. Entinger said this process has already begun, with Deaf translators in Colombia utilizing the ASLV as they work to translate the Bible into Colombian Sign Language.
Responses to the release of the ASLV have been encouraging, Entinger said, recounting one user who said, “God does get me. … God signs my sign language.”
“Like a runner crossing the finish life of a marathon, we are beyond exhilarated … that now, finally, we Deaf people have all of God’s Word in our native, heart language,” Entinger said.
Aric Randolph, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church in Brentwood, Tenn., whose church also is heavily involved in Bible translation for the Deaf with a project called the Deafway Bible, welcomes the ASLV.
“This project has been long and for this to come to completion is a celebration,” Randolph said in written comments. “We are thrilled that the Deaf can have options of Bible translations that best fit their language and needs. We celebrate with them. We rejoice with them. We praise God with them.”
Deaf Missions will host a virtual celebration on their Facebook page Thursday (Oct. 1) at 7 p.m. CDT.