Iran, often associated with its predominant Islamic culture, holds a surprising secret the world’s fastest-growing church. With an estimated 1 million Christians, Iran has seen the emergence of numerous underground fellowships. Previously limited to Farsi-speaking congregations, recent developments have brought forth 12 new Bible translations, allowing minority groups such as the Gilaki, Mazandarani, and others to access the New Testament in their languages.
A Linguistic Mosaic:
Contrary to the perception of a Persian linguistic monolith, Iran boasts a rich tapestry of diversity, with 62 distinct languages, according to the Korpu translating agency. Among these, nine languages have more than 1 million speakers. This linguistic diversity reflects the complexity of the Iranian cultural landscape, offering unique expressions of faith within various communities.
The Impact of Bible Translations:
The recent publication of a dozen Bible translations has made Christian scriptures accessible to a broader audience in Iran. This development has not only facilitated spiritual growth within the Christian community. Still, it has also bridged linguistic gaps, allowing individuals from different ethnic backgrounds to engage with their faith more intimately.
A Higher Purpose:
For believers like Yashgin, a Korpu exegete-in-training currently residing in Turkey, the translation efforts go beyond the salvation of individual souls. Yashgin emphasizes that translating the Bible is God’s way of restoring dignity to humiliated minority peoples. Providing scriptures in diverse languages becomes a powerful tool for affirming the value and worth of minority communities within Iran.
A Tale of Persecution and Faith:
Yashgin, a member of the Qashqai Turkic minority in Iran, became a Christian in 2007. Fearing persecution, she now resides in Turkey, maintaining anonymity to protect her family still living in Shiraz, 525 miles south of Tehran. Her journey involves two brief detentions in Iran for her faith, leading her to connect with Korpu in 2017. Yashgin’s story is a testament to the challenges faced by religious minorities in Iran and the transformative power of the translated scriptures in their lives.
ECSPE is committed to sharing the good news of Jesus with both non-believers and believers. We are adopting a similar method to the one introduced in Iran, where the Bible is shared in an audible format, enabling anyone to listen to it in their own language.