Pioneer Bible Translators is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) mission organization. It has received Charity Navigator's highest ranking (four out of four stars) for financial accountability. Pioneer Bible Translators is a member of ECFA and the Forum of Bible Agencies.
Al Hamilton in the mid-1970’s had a passion and a vision to break down the barriers of language and bring together more people to worship God. He and other members of the Christian Churches began looking for other motivated Christians to help the cause. They decided to form a mission that would work in close cooperation with Wycliffe. But the new mission would try a new approach, combining the genius of Cameron Townsend founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators with that of Donald MacGavran founder of the Church Growth movement, with an emphasis on excellence in Greek and Hebrew exegetical studies inspired by Eugene Nida United Bible Societies. This new mission would make churches send out missionaries who would use Bible translation and literacy as a way of growing the Christian population. From this vision, Pioneer Bible Translators was born in 1976.
With their roots in the Restoration Movement, PBT is committed to practicing unity in the body of Christ with Scripture as the sole authority. They promote union in the Church by having Christians work together on the basis of obeying the essential elements of Scripture while allowing for a wide diversity of opinion on matters that Scripture does not make clear. Because of their history, they pay special attention to mobilizing the churches of their heritage, but they seek also to bring together believers of every background, all who are able to unite around reading and obeying the Bible and making it accessible to anyone who do not have it. Today, Pioneer Bible Translators bridges the gap between the Church and Bible-less peoples, translating the Word into the heart languages of unreached people to transform lives and grow thriving New Testament churches. Pioneer Bible Translators accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. They believe Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who died on the cross for the salvation of all mankind. They also believe God raised Him from the dead and this is their assurance of salvation. All that Pioneer Bible Translators does is done under the sovereign Lordship of Christ and with the intention of making Him Savior and Lord over all the world. PBT believes God has offered to every person everywhere the forgiveness of sins, the Spirit of God, and the inheritance yet to come on the basis of what Christ has done to save people.
Their other beliefs are as follows: In order to receive the gift of grace, God summons everyone to faith in Christ, repentance from sin, confession of Jesus as Lord, and on that basis, immersion into Christ. They accept the Bible as being the Word of God. They regard the Bible as our authority in matters of religion and as the basis of all our faith and practice. True knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ comes to us through the Word of God. Pioneer Bible Translators recognizes that Jesus Christ is the creator of the church, and that it is made up of all those who have obeyed the Bible and belong to Jesus Christ, the Head of the church. PBT thinks the nature of the church as a people of God is determined by the Holy Spirit, whose presence within it gives the church its life and power. The mission of the church is to bring the message of salvation through Christ to all mankind, and summon them to obedience to Him as Savior and Lord. Pioneer Bible Translators wants to be the best problem-solving team for helping people around the world without God’s Word. PBT wants to help groups of people go from Bible-less to knowing the bible on a expert level.
Pioneer Bible Translators has had four presidents in its history. Al Hamilton founded Pioneer Bible Translators and served as its first president in 1976, succeeded by Barton McElroy (1977-1988), Rondal Smith (1988-2006), and Greg Pruett (2007-present).