The Russian-Speaking Church
What Is the Opportunity?
Approximately 250 million people speak Russian worldwide, with over 140 million speakers in Russia itself—making it the eighth most spoken language in the world.1 It is spoken widely in surrounding countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and by about 1.5 million people in Israel.2
Many people in the Russian-speaking world put their hopes in material success or pleasure, rather than in the God of the Bible. The legacy of an atheistic worldview from the days of Communism still affects the lives of the people in much of the country. The Eastern Orthodox Church, as well, remains profoundly influential, and it has not yet experienced a needed reformation. Additionally, sizeable Muslim populations inhabit parts of Russia.
There are few evangelicals in Russia or in surrounding countries, and faithful churches can suffer considerable persecution, including repressive laws against unauthorized religious meetings and missionary activity. However, there is still evangelistic activity under the radar of hostile governing authorities.
Ligonier seeks to provide trustworthy books and other resources to sow the seeds of reformation far and wide in the Russian-speaking world. Faithful teaching, founded on the Bible, will offer strength and comfort to small churches under pressure in this vast region of the earth.
How Is Ligonier Meeting These Needs?
We strive to reach pastors, laypeople, and unbelievers from all walks of life who speak Russian through the following outreach efforts:
The Reformation Study Bible
The Reformation Study Bible helps to deepen Christians’ study of God’s Word. We have identified a highly qualified translation team to make this trusted resource available in Russian. You can now view a sample of the Russian Reformation Study Bible.
As with the English edition, the Russian Reformation Study Bible will have more than 1.1 million words of verse-by-verse commentary and topical explanations, award-winning maps and visual aids, contributions from seventy-five distinguished scholars, theological summaries from R.C. Sproul, and nearly two thousand years of creeds, confessions, and catechisms. As R.C. Sproul said, “The light of the Reformation was the light of the Bible.” The same is true today.
The Ligonier Statement on Christology
Confusion abounds regarding Christology—the doctrine of Christ. As the church continues to grow, it is imperative that believers learn the truths of Scripture as summarized in the great confessions of faith. We produced The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christology to help Christians know what the church has historically taught and provide clarity on the person and work of Christ. Our goal is to distribute this statement worldwide, and it has already been translated into numerous languages, including Russian.
There have been over six thousand views of our short video Что такое Реформация? (What Was the Reformation All About?), which was released online for the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.
Growing interest in the Reformed faith has sparked an eagerness for more resources from R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. Our plans include translating, printing, and distributing the following titles:
- The Reformation Study Bible
- In the Year of Our Lord: Reflections on Twenty Centuries of Church History by Sinclair Ferguson
- The Crucial Questions series by R.C. Sproul
- Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by R.C. Sproul
Recently Published Books in Russian
- In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson
- Living for God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism by Joel Beeke
- Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching
What Is Needed?
- Translation, design, first print-run (20,000 copies), and distribution of the Russian Reformation Study Bible — $540,000 USD
- Translating and publishing digital editions of four Crucial Questions titles — $7,430 USD
Funding needs reflect quoted estimates based on November 2020 foreign exchange rates and current translation fees.
How Do Your Gifts Help?
These are only a few of our many international projects underway. We ask you to prayerfully consider supporting our efforts through your financial gifts and prayers for the Russian-speaking and global church. By God’s grace, your generosity enables the translation, printing, and distribution of trustworthy resources, providing countless opportunities to reach people with the truth of God’s Word.
Our policy is to apply gifts given toward a specific program. If we receive more contributions than can be wisely used for a given project, we apply these funds to meet other pressing needs in our outreach efforts. We are committed to stewarding all gifts wisely toward the goal of proclaiming the holiness of God to as many people as possible. Ligonier Ministries is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
2See https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/how-many-people-speak-russian-and-where-spoken as at Nov 9, 2020