Be an Old Testament Translator

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ABT’s church-planting teams will typically include the following:

1. Old Testament translator
2. New Testament translator
3. Community development facilitator

This page describes the training necessary to become an Old Testament translator.

After learning the local language, the Old Testament translator will begin by working with local helpers to translate key Old Testament stories starting in Genesis.

As stories are translated, the team can teach them to the people in their own language, providing a foundation for understanding the Gospel of Jesus.

Training Requirements for Old Testament Translators

Quality Bible translation requires sufficient preparation. Old Testament translators serving with ABT may go beyond our minimum required training but should at least complete the following requirements.

Along with the home church, ABT will provide direction and financial assistance to help members-in-training complete these requirements. Training completed previously may also be accepted.

1. Orientation

  • several days of orientation and integration into ABT
  • hosted at ABT’s base in State College, PA
  • 2. Annual ABT Camp Week

  • three days of fellowship, teaching, and discussion
  • focused on Bible translation, community development, and church planting
  • hosted at ABT’s base in State College, PA
  • 3. Wayumi course (Ethnos360)

  • one-week interactive college-level course on Bible translation and church planting
  • at the Wayumi campus near Jersey Shore, PA
  • 4. Time spent in cross-cultural outreach or mission

  • at least several months, but preferably longer
  • cross-cultural experience, typically in another country
  • previous experience accepted
  • ABT can recommend or facilitate opportunities for members-in-training
  • 5. Two years of college-level Hebrew

  • or the functional equivalent (e.g., Hebrew through self-study)
  • two years will not result in fluency, but enables the translator to work effectively with the Hebrew of the Old Testament
  • We encourage studying Old Testament Hebrew as a living language prior to the conventional grammar approach. Contact us for more information.
  • 6. Two summers at Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL)

  • or the functional equivalent of SIL Package A and Package B
  • includes 20 credits of linguistic and sociolinguistic studies
  • 7. Mission Medical Intensive (MMI)

  • EQUIP International
  • two-week course
  • ABT may recommend other courses from EQUIP as well
  • 8. Four semesters or equivalent in Bible study

  • Old Testament survey, Biblical hermeneutics, etc.
  • 9. Team Launch

  • approximately two months together as a team before leaving for the field
  • wrap up training requirements, focus on team dynamics and strategy
  • hosted at ABT’s base in State College, PA

  • Interested in serving on an ABT church-planting team?

    How to Join ABT

    Training Sources for Old Testament Translators

    We recommend these resources for members-in-training depending on their needs.

    Biblical Studies:

    Faith Builders Educational Programs (FBEP)

    A five-week Winter Term with courses like Reading the Bible, Anabaptism as Worldview, 1 Corinthians, and The Kingdom of God. Two-year tracks of apprenticeship-focused study also available.

    Institute for Global Opportunities (IGo)

    A hands-on training school in Thailand that integrates Bible, missions, and Anabaptist theology.

    Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute (SMBI)

    Six-week terms of study from September to May. Courses in Bible, Theology, Evangelism, and more.

    Hebrew Study:

    Biblical Language Center

    Learn the Hebrew of the Old Testament as a real, living language, not just as a code to be cracked.

    Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators (formerly Home for Bible Translators)

    Biblical and modern Hebrew courses in conjunction with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Modern Hebrew immersion as a side benefit.

    Institute for Biblical Languages and Translation (IBLT)

    IBLT offers the School of Biblical Hebrew, an 8-month immersion program for serious translators and consultants, with 48 credits in both Biblical and modern Hebrew.

    God’s Bible School, Cincinnati, OH

    Offers Biblical Hebrew courses as well as Bible classes. Online Hebrew option.


    Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL)

    Nine weeks of graduate-level linguistic training each summer (undergraduate students can still apply). Hosted at the University of North Dakota (UND).

    Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL)

    Courses offered year-round for undergraduate and graduate credits. Hosted at facilities in British Columbia and Ontario.

    Cross-Cultural Mission Training

    Institute for Global Opportunities (IGo)

    A hands-on training school in Thailand that integrates Bible, missions, and Anabaptist theology.

    SENT I and SENT II (Serving Every Nation Training School)

    Serve and study on the field in Ghana under experienced church planters with Charity Christian Missions.
    SENT I is a three-month course in the fall. SENT II is a two-year internship.

    Wayumi by Ethnos360

    A week-long course providing a thorough introduction to the big picture of church planting and Bible translation.
    Walk through the process with instructors who have personal experience, learning about pitfalls to avoid and methods that have proven effective.

    Medical and Humanitarian:

    EQUIP International

    Mission Medical Intensive (required), Aquaponics, Clean Water, Community Health, and more.

    Where are ABT's Members?

    Learn more!

  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10