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History of Bible Translations Up to 1939

R. Kilgour [1867-1942], The Bible Throughout the World. A Survey of Scripture TranslationsKilgour’s history of Bible translation was written to serve as a record of what had been achieved by the beginning of World War II. It  also indicated which people-groups were still waiting for a Bible in their own language. The volume contains numerous illustrative maps, which I have included in greyscale. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing me with a copy of the book to scan.

R. Kilgour [1867-1942], The Bible Throughout the World. A Survey of Scripture Translations. London: World Dominion Press, 1939. Hbk. pp.208. [Download complete book in PDF]


  1. Early Versions of Scripture
  2. The Bible Throughout Europe
  3. The Bible Throughout Africa
  4. The Bible Throughout Asia
  5. The Bible Throughout America
  6. The Bible Throughout the Pacific Islands
  7. The Unfinished Task



  1. Europe, Asia Minor, etc.
  2. Northern Africa
  3. Central and Southern Africa
  4. India and Burma
  5. Eastern Asia
  6. North and Central America
  7. South America
  8. Australia, etc.
  9. East Indian Archipelago


This book has been prepared for the practical purpose of supplying information on the extent of Scripture translation, recording briefly what has been done, and, by inference, suggesting what remains to be accomplished. It does not necessarily follow, however, that Bible translation is needed for all the spaces unmarked on the language maps. Some are sparsely populated. In others there are often tribes speaking or. understanding some of the neighbouring languages or dialects in which Scriptures already exist. It has been estimated that, if they were able to read, at least nine-tenths of mankind are now supplied with some portion of God’s Word in a tongue they could understand.

This record could not have been compiled without the information so fully and reliably collected by my former colleagues, the late Rev. T. H. Darlow and Dr. H. F. Moule, in the Historical Catalogue of Printed Bibles issued in 1911 and now out of print. The accuracy and scholarship of this work become increasingly impressive the more one uses it. It gives details, not only of the books then in the Bible House Library, but of any others known to have been printed by any organization, a system also followed in this survey. [Continue reading]

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