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The First American Sign Language Bible Is Complete After Almost 40 Years

White page with four different rectangles picturing people using American Sign Language
October 9, 2020
95.1 Shine
Caroline Burk

In the 1980s, Deaf Missions set out to create the first American Sign Language Bible, and after 39 years it’s complete!

Deaf Missions is a ministry dedicated to communicating the Gospel with Deaf individuals through “their heart language, culture and identity,” and creating a complete version of the Bible in American Sign Language was a major goal for them.

The translation was nearly finished in 2016, but they still needed Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. With the help of American Bible Society, Deaf Bible Society, DOOR International, Seed Company, Wycliffe USA, and Deaf Harbor the last three chapters were finally completed this fall!

Many people may not realize the critical need for a Bible in American Sign Language, but Duane King experienced this need firsthand. King was a minister at Independent Christian Church when she met a Deaf couple who decided not to go to church because they couldn’t understand the service or preaching. After learning American Sign Language and starting a mission with the couple, King realized the need for a Bible specifically translated into American Sign Language, instead of simply signing the English Bible.

In 2019, King explained how “most hearing people don’t understand how difficult it is to learn to read what you cannot hear. Deaf people rely so much on their eyesight that they want everything to be tangible—they want to be able to see everything. This sometimes makes it harder.”

Now, after years of hard work, millions of Deaf individuals can see the Bible come to life in their own language. Praise God for all the people who dedicated years to completing this long-awaited and much-needed translation of the Bible!

You can watch the celebratory video below to learn even more about the need for this translation and the process behind bringing it to life:

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