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Concerning the end of the world and when this will happen Mark 13:10 says:

And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. (NIV)

Has the gospel been preached to all nations?

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Nations like China and Iran still don't have Christianity flowing through them. I would probably suggest it hasn't yet. – Matt Jan 12 '14 at 18:50
Primarily opinion-based. – Double U Jan 12 '14 at 19:00
In terms of Bible translations, only about 300 million people in the world speak a language in which the Bible has not been translated at least in part. That is less than 5% of the world's population. So, I would say every nation has been reached, but not every tribe or tongue, at least not yet. – Narnian Jan 13 '14 at 18:55
@Narnian,With the technology we have available etc,If you take an educated guess,how long would you think before every tribe and language hear the gospel? 5,10,20, 40, 50 years? – 77 Clash Jan 13 '14 at 19:13
@77Clash I would estimate at least by the end of this century. See answer here:… – Narnian Jan 13 '14 at 20:24

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted


The word translated 'nations' is ἔθνος (ethnos), from which we derive the word 'ethnic'. It is talking about ethnic communities, which we might call people groups today, not political states.

The Joshua Project estimates that there are 16,825 people groups in the word. Of those, 7,287 are unreached, by which they mean "less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents". Because there are so few Christians in an unreached people group they will struggle to evangelise their own group with the gospel, which means many Christians believe they need outside missionary help. This represents 2.91 billion people.

The International Mission Board estimates there are 2,945 unengaged people groups. An unengaged people group is one where there are no Christian in the group, and no plan for anyone to take the gospel to them. They estimate there are over 190 million people in unengaged people groups.

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I like International Mission Board's definition of "unreached" a lot better than Joshua Project's. The latter seem to be creating definitions of reached and unreached totally out of thin air. – Nicolás Carlo Jan 14 '14 at 3:36
They look the same to me? JP: "The original Joshua Project editorial committee selected the criteria less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents." IMB: "A people group is unreached when the number of Evangelical Christians is less than 2% of its population." – curiousdannii Jan 14 '14 at 3:40
I see. I just read what you wrote and didn't check the source. In that case, both the criteria selected by these groups are faulty and they seem to be creating reasons to still have a high number of "unreached" groups. Why are they faulty? Because they are based on nothing that is in the Bible. – Nicolás Carlo Jan 14 '14 at 3:44
I think they're reasonable definitions. Would you call the Bengali Shaikh people reached if they had 1 Christian out of 218 million? 10 Christians? 1000? 1 million? This is a huge people group and they live in a large area, so even if there were 1 million Christians it is likely that many of the remaining 217 million people wouldn't have any contact with them. 2% is arbitrary, but it's a good approximation of how big a Christian community needs to be in order to be a significant rather than an insignificant minority. – curiousdannii Jan 14 '14 at 3:51
I don't intend to start a huge comment discussion but yes I would. It depends from place to place. The Holy Spirit is able to use one person effectively to get God's message across to 218 million people. Or do you think it isn't possible? Assumptions and random calculations are fine for human work, but for a group to be labelled unreached because of a percentage has nothing to do with what God teaches in the Bible. As for how big the Christian community needs to be to reach people...1 person strong is usually strong enough. – Nicolás Carlo Jan 14 '14 at 3:56

I believe this was fulfilled. In Col. 1:23, the apostle Paul wrote,

If you remain in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached among every creature which is under heaven, of which, I Paul, was made a minister

εἴγε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει τεθεμελιωμένοι καὶ ἑδραῖοι καὶ μὴ μετακινούμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου οὗ ἠκούσατε τοῦ κηρυχθέντος ἐν πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει τῇ ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν οὗ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος

At least, if you choose to believe it was fulfilled, you have a biblical justification for doing so.

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And yet, if it had already been preached to every creature, why did Paul need to be made a servant for it? This is probably more of a question for the Hermeneutics site, but I wonder what 'preached' in this verse really refers to? I suspect its more talking about the event of the resurrection than evangelism. – curiousdannii Jan 13 '14 at 3:12
What Mark 13:10 says, followed by what Mark 16:15 says, is the same thing that Paul said occurred (past tense) in Col. 1:23. "Every creature" simply means "among all the nations." I mean, if Paul declared that the gospel had been preached among every creature, doesn't that include every nation? :) There's no way around it. :) – H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 13 '14 at 3:26
But sometimes the same words are used in different ways, such as the supposed conflict between Paul and James. I don't dispute that the same words are used here, but I do wonder if Mark and Paul mean different things by them. I think it's fair to ask what Paul means because we know that he didn't preach the gospel in Australia or the Americas... – curiousdannii Jan 13 '14 at 3:30
See also Rom. 10:18: But I say, "Have they not heard? Yes verily! Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." – H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 13 '14 at 3:33

This isn't opinion based, and is a question which can be answered according to biblical standard.

There might be about 41,000 Christian denominations, many of which preach different versions of Christ. So that would mean there are 41,000 different Christ's. We know this, because Christ promised to be one flock, one shepherd (John 10:16).

So there are 41,000+ competing Christs, many of which do not actively preach.

There are a few versions of Jesus taking the lead in preaching, but have to relearn his own gospel from the ground up -- making a rather finicky stance in the final word on life or death relative to this age -- the all-important gospel which is completed before the end.

So some of the older versions of Jesus have the most sin attributed to their name (Child molestation, etc) in effect mocking his name. Some of the newer ones are learning from the ground up, having splintered from the older Jesus due to stumbling.

A divided Christ in a divided world - hard to judge if the true gospel is being preached at all.

Matthew 12:26 states it perfectly.

HOWEVER IN CONTRAST: If you consider the bible itself (the word) as the authority and consider corrupt people as an irrelevancy, and give the bible it's credit to take root in hearts despite its imperfect transmitters if the word, THEN we can certainly say progress has been made on an extraordinary level.

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"According to biblical standard" Whose, precisely? Good answers on this site need to be supported, and not just your own opinion. – lonesomeday Jan 12 '14 at 20:02
The bible is its own standard. – 1Up Jan 12 '14 at 20:06
That is a very specific confessional viewpoint, not universal among Christians. You might find What makes a good supported answer? interesting to read. – lonesomeday Jan 12 '14 at 20:10
Universal views and popular opinion have not been popular with God: Luke 6:26 -- I'm simply speaking according to the bible. The most well supported answer is a scriptural one. Anyway, I'll let my answer rest is it is and get downvoted :D – 1Up Jan 12 '14 at 20:16
I don't see how the existence of many denominations and their disagreements related to whether or not the gospel has been preached to all nations. – curiousdannii Jan 13 '14 at 1:15

Before even trying to unravel the mystery behind Jesus statement in Mark 13:10 we need to first determine just what and who Jesus meant. The two key words here are published and nations.

King James translation

Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Greek Orthodox

10 καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη δεῖ πρῶτον ι κηρυχθῆνα τὸ εὐαγγέλιον.

Definitions of the Greek words:

  1. ἔθνος

ethnos (eth'-nos) n.

  1. a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe

  2. (specially) a foreign (non-Jewish) one, Gentiles

  3. (usually, by implication) pagan

KJV: Gentile, heathen, nation, people

  1. κηρύσσω

kerusso (kay-roos'-so) v.

  1. to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel)

KJV: preacher(-er), proclaim, publish

Since Jesus spoke Aramaic and the Gospels were written in Greek we can not know for certainty these are accurate meanings, but since Greek is a verb oriented language, the meanings must be very near exact.

So We can say with assurance that what Jesus was saying is that the Gospel must be proclaimed to all tribes, which also would be all languages.

So how many languages are there?

Ethnologue (published by SIL International), whose detailed classified list as of 2009 included 6,909 distinct languages.

Much pioneering work in documenting the languages of the world has been done by missionary organizations (such as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, now known as SIL International) with an interest in translating the Christian Bible. As of 2009, at least a portion of the bible had been translated into 2,508 different languages, still a long way short of full coverage.

I may be wrong, but as I see it that Scripture will be fulfilled when the Bible is translated into all those languages and presented to them.

Much translation has been done since 2009, but I am unsure how many are left to be translated and published.

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Beckham,so are you saying that the word has not been preached to all nations? – 77 Clash Jan 12 '14 at 20:53
@ 77 Clash you are misreading Mark 13:10 it does not say "preached" it says κηρύσσω which is more accurately translated"published" than preached. I do not know which Jesus was referring too, but the list of languages I referred to was compiled by Missionaries and since they are in the business of spreading the Gospel I am inclined to believe that they preached it as they were compiling the list. As I said I may be wrong but that is my belief. anyone is welcome to either disagree or agree as they are led. – BYE Jan 12 '14 at 21:53
Beckham,I see what you mean.I think the internet will be a "big player." – 77 Clash Jan 12 '14 at 22:26
κηρύσσω and εὐαγγελίζω. Both can be translated and understood as "preached," as in orally proclaimed. κηρύσσω emphasizes the action (proclaimed), while εὐαγγελίζω emphasizes the object (what is proclaimed), that being, good news. Matt 3:1 - In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea. You're not trying to tell me that John was publishing scrolls in the wilderness of Judaea, are you??? – H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 12 '14 at 22:40
@ H3br3wHamm3r81 Of course not my point is that that word in most of Mark, Matthew and Luke, is translated preached and here it is curiously translated published. In some other translations it is even translated as proclaimed, and given in Mark 13:10. I was as I noted giving my PERSONAL opinion and not trying to force it on anyone. – BYE Jan 12 '14 at 23:15

Colossians 1:6 (GOD'S WORD® Translation)

This Good News is present with you now. It is producing results and spreading all over the world as it did among you from the first day you heard it.

Colossians 1:23 (New Living Translation)

The Good News has been preached all over the world

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What specifically happened in 61AD? – curiousdannii Jan 15 '14 at 2:14
@curiousdannii excuse me. 61AD was a reference to Paul, 84 NIV Referencere says he wrote Colossians in about 60AD. But if you want to get technical only Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Galatians are UNDISPUTED Paul epistles, called Hauptebriefe. Next time edit it out if you dont like it. – WelcomeNewUsers Jan 15 '14 at 2:32
I didn't dislike it, I just didn't know what you were referring to. I wondered if there was some event that happened then. – curiousdannii Jan 15 '14 at 2:35

protected by David Oct 25 '14 at 13:26

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