Many of the world’s languages were first set to writing by Christian missionaries in order for people to read the Bible for themselves. That is still true today. Many tribal languages are being codified by Christians out in the field; for example, Wycliffe Bible Translators are carrying this work out in obscure areas of the world. This is an ongoing challenge, and, according to Wycliffe, at this present time more than 300 million people “still do not have a way to write their own language.”
By providing the Bible in people’s own language, missionaries are also promoting worldwide literacy as a natural by-product. This is a trend that began hundreds of years ago.
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville. Location 773.