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Core Vision

Why Give to Collaboration

Why Give to Collaboration

– By Chris McBride –

The world is changing, and the power of networks is coming into maturity. Social networks have shown us numerous examples of what happens when many get involved together in fulfilling a vision. 

24:14 provides a way for donors to give to a network within the body of Christ, working together to accomplish the Great Commission. We need more than simply saying: “Let’s work together.” Successful recent examples of collaboration show us some essential ingredients.

Clear Vision for Collaboration 

24:14’s Vision is for every people group in every global place to have a believing community focused on multiplying disciples in a Church Planting Movement. This level of clarity allows believers everywhere around the world to contribute to this powerful vision.

Clear Mechanisms for Collaboration 

Our 24:14 Community supports one another through sharing information, resources, training, coaching, learning and encouragement. Organizing and supporting collaborative regional and sub-regional teams enables action at local levels. We don’t aim to advance any organizational agenda or methodology. We promote the success of every organization, church, team, movement and network in our community.

Building Support Structure for Collaboration 

Best practices among collaboration efforts have yielded an important lesson: Collaboration requires hard work. Most churches, networks, agencies, and movements have a great deal on their agendas. Pioneering collaboration often takes dedicated work from a third party: an idea we call the “collaborative backbone.”

We don’t notice a person’s backbone when we first meet them, but we would notice if they didn’t have one! A backbone provides the support structure that enables the rest of the body to function together. A collaborative backbone functions by organizing the efforts that allow churches, networks, agencies, and movements to operate in unison toward a common goal. 

Defining the Goals of Collaboration 

24:14’s leadership team has tasked our backbone with the following objectives:

  • Expand commitment to prayer and fasting for movements of multiplying disciples.
  • Deepen development of a team of researchers and sharing of data that reliably identifies gaps down to the provincial level. 
  • Develop a Global Strategy Team from 32 regions, organized for documenting, evaluating, and celebrating action plans. 
  • Publish regular communications, including blog content, books, journal articles, and social media posts.
  • Support Phased Equipping Communities facilitated by experienced movement mentors. 
  • Facilitate more cross pollination among movement practitioners. 
  • Mobilize resources by advising a coalition of churches, foundations, and givers on Great Commission gap projects. For more information on these projects, contact us at [email protected].

We believe that collaboration around the Great Commission is one of the best investments a believer can make. As you consider where to invest your kingdom giving, please prayerfully consider supporting collaboration aimed at engaging every people and place with a Church Planting Movement.

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Core Vision

Brutal Facts

Brutal Facts

– By Justin Long –

Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave his disciples the task we refer to as the Great Commission: to “go into all the world,” making disciples of every people group. Ever since then, Christians have dreamed of the day when this task would be completed. Many of us connect it to Matthew 24:14, Jesus’ promise that the gospel “will be preached in the whole world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV) Although we may debate the precise meanings of passage, we tend to think the task will be “completed,” and completion is somehow tied to “the end.”

While we eagerly anticipate Christ’s return, we must face the “brutal facts”: if the End of the Task and the Return of Jesus somehow correlate, his return is likely still far off. By many measures, the “end of the task” is getting further away from us!

How do we measure “the end of the task”? Two possibilities are tied to these Scriptures: a measure of proclamation and a measure of discipleship.

As a measure of discipleship, we can consider both how much of the world claims to be Christian, and how much of the world could be considered an “active disciple.”

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) counts Christians of all kinds. They tell us that in 1900, 33% of the world was Christian; in 2000, 33% of the world was Christian. And by 2050, unless things change dramatically, the world will still be 33% Christian! A church that only grows at the same rate as the population is not bringing the gospel to “the whole world as a witness to all the peoples.”

What about “active disciples”? This measure is far more difficult, since we can’t really know the “state of the heart.” But in The Future of the Global Church, Patrick Johnstone estimated “evangelicals” at about 6.9% of the world’s population in 2010. Research shows the number of evangelicals is growing more rapidly than most other segments of Christianity, but continues to be a small percentage of the world.

The number of believers isn’t the only measure of completing the task, however. “Proclamation,” as noted above, is another. Some people will hear the gospel and not accept it. Three measures of proclamation are widely used: unevangelized, unreached and unengaged. (Mission Frontiers looked at these three measures in depth in the January-February 2007 issue: http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/which-peoples-need-priority-attention).

Unevangelized is an attempt to measure who has no access to the gospel: who, realistically, will not have a chance to hear the good news and respond to it in their lifetime. CSGC estimates 54% of the world was unevangelized in 1900 and 28% is unevangelized today. This is good news: the percentage of the world with no access to the gospel has dropped significantly. However, the bad news: in 1900, the total population of unevangelized people was 880 million. Today, due to population growth, that number has risen to 2.1 billion.

While the percentage of unevangelized people was cut nearly in half, the total number of people with no access has more than doubled. The remaining task has grown in size.

Unreached is slightly different: it measures which unevangelized groups do not have a local, indigenous church that can bring the gospel to the whole group without the aid of cross-cultural missionaries. Joshua Project lists around 7,000 unreached groups totaling 3.15 billion people which is 42% of the world. 

Finally, unengaged groups are those lacking any engagement by a church planting team. Today, there are 1,510 such groups: the number has been declining since its introduction in 1999 by the IMB. This decline is a good sign, but it means that for “newly engaged” groups, the work is not finished, only newly begun! It is far easier to engage a group with a church planting team than to see lasting results.

The “brutal fact” is that, by any of these measures, none of our existing efforts will reach all the people in all of the groups any time soon. We see several key reasons for this.

First, most Christian effort goes to places where the church is, rather than places where it is not. Most money given to Christian causes is spent on ourselves and even most mission money is spent in majority Christian areas. For every $100,000 in personal income, the average Christian gives $1 dollar to reach the unreached (0.00001%).

Deployment of personnel also reflects this problematic imbalance. Only 3% of cross-cultural missionaries serve among the unreached. If we count all full time Christian workers only 0.37% serve the unreached. We send one missionary for every 179,000 Hindus, every 260,000 Buddhists and every 405,500 Muslims.

Second, most Christians are out of touch with the non-Christian world: globally, 81% of all non-Christians do not personally know a believer. For Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, that rises to 86%. In the Middle East and North Africa the percentage is 90%. In Turkey and Iran it is 93% and in Afghanistan 97% of people do not personally know a Christian.

Third, the churches we are sustaining exist largely in places with slow population growth. Global population is growing fastest in places where we are not. Christianity remained static at 33% of the world’s population from 1910 to 2010. Meanwhile, Islam grew from 12.6% of the world’s population in 1910 to 15.6% in 1970 and to an estimated 23.9% in 2020. This was largely due to

population growth of Muslim communities, not conversion. But the fact remains that in the last century Islam has almost doubled as a percentage of the world and the percentage of Christians has remained the same.

Fourth, the Christian world is fractured and lacks unity to work together to achieve the Great Commission. Globally, there are an estimated 41,000 denominations. The number of mission agencies has skyrocketed from 600 in 1900 to 5,400 today. A general lack of communication, much less coordination, is crippling to efforts to make disciples of all ethnē. 

Fifth, many churches often have inadequate emphasis on discipleship, obedience to Christ, and willingness to follow Him whole-heartedly. Low commitment yields little reproduction and runs the risk of declining or imploding. This shows up in the loss of Christians who leave the church. In an average year 5 million people choose to become Christians but 13 million choose to leave Christianity. If the current trends continue, from 2010-2050 40 million people will switch to Christianity while 106 million leave.

Sixth, we have not adapted strategically to the reality of a global church. Global South Christians grew from 20% of the world’s Christians in 1910 to an estimated 64.7% by 2020. Yet the Global North church still has a large proportion of Christian wealth. Due to ethnocentrism and narrow perspectives, we prioritize sending people from our own cultures as missionaries. We continue using most of our resources to support distant-culture teams engaging unreached groups rather than prioritizing and adequately resourcing near-culture teams to reach neighboring unreached groups. 

Seventh, we are losing ground. As a result of the previous six points and other factors, there are a growing number of both lost people in general and unreached people in particular. The number of lost people in the world has grown from 3.2 billion people to 5 billion in 2015 while those without access to the gospel has grown from 1.1 billion in 1985 to 2.2 billion in 2018.

Despite our earnest desire to fulfill the Great Commission, unless we change how we “run the race,” current trends tell us we have no likelihood of seeing the finish line any time soon. We can never close the gap on lostness incrementally. We need to face the brutal fact that missions and church planting as usual will not reach the goal

We need movements where the number of new believers exceeds the annual growth rate of the population. We need churches multiplying churches and movements multiplying movements among the unreached. This is not a dream or mere theory. God is doing this in some places. There are over 650 CPMs (at least four separate streams of consistent 4+ generation of churches) that are spread throughout every continent. There are another 250+ emerging movements that are seeing 2nd and 3rd generation church multiplication.

We must pay attention to what God is doing and be willing to realistically evaluate our efforts so we can trade minimally fruitful strategies for highly fruitful ones.

 

 

(1) [1] World Christian Database, 2015, *Barrett and Johnson. 2001. World Christian Trends, p. 656, and 2 Atlas of Global Christianity 2009. Also see:Deployment of Missionaries, Global status 2018
(2) ibid.
(3) http://www.gordonconwell.edu/ockenga/research/documents/ChristianityinitsGlobalContext.pdf
(4) http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/29_1_PDFs/IJFM_29_1-Johnson&Hickman.pdf
http://www.gordonconwell.edu/ockenga/research/documents/ChristianityinitsGlobalContext.pdf
5 http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/29_1_PDFs/IJFM_29_1-Johnson&Hickman.pdf
6 http://www.pewforum.org/2017/04/05/the-changing-global-religious-landscape/ 

Justin Long has been involved in global missions research for 25 years, and presently serves as the Director of Global Research for Beyond, where he edits the Movement Index and the Global District Survey.

This material appeared on pages 149-155 of the book 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, available from 24:14 or from Amazon, expanded from an article that originally appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of Mission Frontiers, www.missionfrontiers.org, pp. 14-16.

Categories
Core Vision

The Power of Regional Teams

The Power of Regional Teams

– By Chris McBride –

If I didn’t learn the power of multiplication in school, I probably learned it from COVID-19.

The first half of 2020 has demonstrated a lesson that Church Planting Movements have been showing us for years: multiplication fills an area with a virus…or Kingdom disciples, in a way that addition never can! Networked communities multiply impact because they empower multiple leaders to obey Jesus personally.  When Spirit-led regional leaders who know their communities begin to model giving away leadership, viral impact soon follows.

24:14 is a collaborative community. We work together toward a common vision: Engaging every people group and every global place with multiplicative disciple-making and church planting. How can we best do that in a world of diverse peoples and cultures?

Past collaboration efforts have often failed because they implemented a “least common denominator” approach to collaboration. Many people pursued diverse agendas in their collaboration, and inclusivity around the broad vision meant that goals had to remain broad. Because the goals were often global and generalized, participants found it difficult to find ways they could meaningfully contribute to the larger goal.

24:14 Regional Teams attempt to learn from past experiences. By forming teams in regions with similar linguistic, cultural, security, and dominant religious backgrounds, teams have more factors in common than different. When a regional team is formed by leaders making disciples to start church planting movements, they have a clear path to success. The regional team can collaborate around filling the gaps in church multiplication, strategic planning, prayer, and resource sharing. Thus many others find encouragement and support to walk that path.

Regional teams allow one global vision to be multiplied into many regions. As these teams operate successfully, they encourage formation of collaborative communities at a country level, then a province level, then a district level. As relationships form and trust begins to build, energy begins to grow, the lost are reached and the gaps are filled.

Leadership teams for each region are formed relationally by movement leaders in each region.  Most regional leaders have shepherded large movements that have started new works in other areas and have walked with other global leaders for years.  The network of regional leaders has strong relationships and mutual trust, growing year by year.

Our 24:14 Community works together globally to support each other. Shared knowledge, shared tools, shared resources, and shared experiences help the network grow virally. The power of our community is distributed through our regions…and ultimately to you.

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Core Vision

The 24:14 Vision

The 24:14 Vision

– By Stan Parks –

In Matthew 24:14, Jesus promised: "This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all ethnē (people groups), and then the end will come."

The 24:14 Vision is to see the gospel shared with every people group on earth in our generation. We long to be in the generation that finishes what Jesus began and other faithful workers before us have given their lives to. We know that Jesus waits to return until every people group has an opportunity to respond to the gospel and become part of His Bride.

We recognize the best way to give every people group this opportunity is to see the church started and multiplying in their group. This becomes the best hope for everyone to hear the Good News, as disciples in these multiplying churches are motivated to share the gospel with everyone possible. 

These multiplying churches can become what we call a Church Planting Movement (CPM). A CPM is defined as the multiplication of disciples making disciples and leaders developing leaders, resulting in indigenous churches planting churches which begin to spread rapidly through a people group or population segment. 

The 24:14 coalition is not an organization. We are a community of individuals, teams, churches, organizations, networks, and movements who have made a commitment to seeing Church Planting Movements in every unreached people and place. Our initial goal is see effective CPM engagement in every unreached people and place by December 31, 2025. 

This means having a team (local, expat or combination) equipped in movement strategy on location in every unreached people and place by that date. We make no claims about when the Great Commission task will be finished. That is God’s responsibility. He determines the fruitfulness of movements.

We pursue the 24:14 Vision based on four values:

  1. Reaching the unreached, in line with Matthew 24:14: bringing the gospel of the Kingdom to every unreached people and place.
  2. Accomplishing this through Church Planting Movements, involving multiplying disciples, churches, leaders and movements.
  3. Acting with a wartime sense of urgency to engage every unreached people and place with a movement strategy by the end of 2025.
  4. Doing these things in collaboration with others.

Our vision is to see the gospel of the Kingdom proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all people groups in our lifetime. We invite you to join us in praying and serving to start kingdom movements in every unreached people and place.

 

 

Stan Parks Ph.D. serves the 24:14 Coalition (Facilitation Team), Beyond (VP Global Strategies), and Ethne (Leadership Team).  He is a trainer and coach for a variety of CPMs globally and has lived and served among the unreached since 1994.

This material first appeared on pages 2-3 of the book 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, available from 24:14 or from Amazon.

Categories
Core Vision

24:14 – The Story

24:14 – The Story

– By Chris McBride – 

Old Treasures as Well as New

The early 1990’s was a good season for the global church. We labored hard and encouraging things happened. The Iron Curtain had opened and people were coming to Christ.

But we were not reaching the hardest to reach places. Whole people groups had generations of souls entering eternity without Christ. The global population was growing rapidly, and the Church was not keeping up.

Then something unexpected happened. Breakthroughs started to occur as gospel messengers began to take a fresh look at the original commands of Christ. Surprising news came from India. From China. From Southeast Asia. Then in Africa: Simple, reproducible models facilitating multiplication of disciples. Empowered disciples obeying Jesus, making disciples, and gathering in new churches. Exponential multiplication of these churches among the lost. Incredible growth such as this happened in the early church (as recorded in the book of Acts) and only occasionally in church history (such as Patrick’s ministry in Ireland in the early Wesleyan movement). 

New treasure had sprung from old wisdom.

The Spirit Blows

As the inaugural decade of the 2000s progressed, more and more of these Church Planting Movements (CPMs) emerged. (CPM is an umbrella term we use to describe movements of multiplying disciples that form multiplying churches.) By 2007, missiologists were tracking more than 30 CPMs. In 2010, they could count more than 60, many of which had started completely independently of one another. Then the number exceeded 100. While most movements endured and a few ended, workers pursuing multiplicative movements to reach the lost continued to learn and increase in number.

As the movements continued to grow in numbers and spread in impact, many leaders realized this was the wind of the Spirit blowing on Church Planting Movements. Millions of new believers were coming into the Kingdom. It was time to put up the sails. 

A Community Is Born

In 2017, 24:14 was birthed following two international summits where global leaders gathered from mission organizations, churches, networks and movements already committed to reaching the unreached through CPMs. We grappled with a simple question: 

“What will it take to pray and work together to start kingdom movements in every unreached people and place in our generation?”

​The Holy Spirit moved 24:14 Summit attendees to humbly pursue a unified effort to engage the unreached — specifically through Church Planting Movements with sacrificial urgency by 2025. As a result, we launched a global coalition of like-minded organizations, churches and believers—known as 24:14—to see this God-sized vision fulfilled.

Building Together

Since 2017, we have been sharpening that vision together: Every people in every place with a community of believers focusing on multiplying disciples of Jesus in a Church Planting Movement. We watch and work to see this seed fall on good soil and multiply into a harvest fit for the King.

24:14 is an open collaborative community serving those catalyzing and supporting Church Planting Movements. We raise no organizational flags; we work in collaborative unity in service to Jesus alone.

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Core Vision

What Will it Take to Fulfill the Great Commission?

What Will it Take to Fulfill the Great Commission?

– By Stan Parks –

In his final instructions to his disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus laid out an amazing plan for all his disciples – both then and now.

We go in the Name having all authority – in heaven and on earth. We receive the power of the Holy Spirit as we go – to the people in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria (“enemies” nearby) and ends of the earth.  Jesus calls us to make disciples of all ethnē, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything he commanded. And he is always with us. 

What will it take to fulfill the Great Commission? In seeking to grasp the “remaining task,” we use terms like “unreached,” “unevangelized,” “unengaged,” and “least-reached.”

We often use these words interchangeably. This can be quite dangerous, as they do not mean the same thing, and we may not mean the same thing when we use them. 

“Unreached” was originally defined in a meeting of missiologists held in Chicago shortly after the whole idea of unreached peoples became popular. It was defined as, “a people group lacking a church that can evangelize the group to its borders without cross-cultural assistance.” 

“Unevangelized” as generally used, was defined in the World Christian Encyclopedia as a mathematical equation for estimating the number of people within a people group that would have access to the gospel at least once in their lifetime. It is a quantification of the number of people who have access to the gospel. A group can be, for example, 30% evangelized, which means researchers estimate 30% have heard the gospel and 70% have not. It is not a statement about the quality of the local church or its ability to finish the task on its own.

“Unengaged” was created by Finishing the Task and defined as a people group lacking a team with a church planting strategy. If a group of several million people has a team of two or three that has “engaged” it with a church planting strategy, it is “engaged” (but almost certainly underserved). Finishing the Task maintains the unengaged list, derived from other lists.

“Least-reached” is a generic term referring to the core of the remaining task. It does not have a specific definition, and is often used when no specific definition is desired.

What is the Task?

The 24:14 goal is to be part of the generation that fulfills the Great Commission. And we think the best way fulfill the Great Commission (making disciples of every people group) is through Kingdom movements in every people and place. 

All of these terms – unevangelized, unreached, unengaged, least reached – are helpful in different ways. Yet they can be confusing and even counterproductive, depending on how they are used. 

We want to see everyone evangelized but not just evangelized. In other words, it is not enough that everyone hear the gospel. We know that disciples will be made “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9, NIV).

We want to see every people group reached – to have a church strong enough to evangelize its own people. But that is not all we want. Joshua Project says that a reached group has 2% evangelical Christians. This means they estimate that those 2% can share the good news with the remaining 98%. That is an important step, but we are not satisfied if just 2% of a people become followers of Jesus.  

We want to see every group engaged but not just engaged. Would you want your city of five or ten million people to have just two workers serving to bring the gospel? 

The original language of the Great Commission makes clear the one central command in these verses: to make disciples (mathēteusate). Not just individual disciples, but discipling ethnē – entire ethnic groups. The other verbs (“go,” “baptizing,” “teaching”) support the main command – to disciple all ethnē.

The Greek word ethnos (singular of ethnē) is defined as “a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions, nation, people.” Revelation 7:9 rounds out the picture of the ethnē (“nations”) who will be reached, adding three more descriptive terms: tribes, peoples, and languages – various groups with common identities. 

The Lausanne 1982 people group definition says: “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”

How do we disciple a whole nation, tribe, people, language? 

We see an example in Acts 19:10, which says all the Jews and Greeks in the province of Asia (15 million people!) “heard the word of the Lord” in two years. In Romans 15 (verses 19-23) Paul states that from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum there was no place left for his pioneering work. 

So what will it take to fulfill the Great Commission? Certainly only God can judge when the Great Commission is finally “fulfilled.” Yet the goal seems to be making disciples of a critical mass of people in each ethnos, resulting in churches. Disciples living out God’s kingdom – inside and outside the church – transforming their communities and continually bringing more people into His kingdom. 

Kingdom Movement Engagements

This is why those who have made the 24:14 commitment focus on seeing kingdom movement engagements. We recognize that only a movement of multiplying disciples, churches and leaders can disciple entire communities, language groups, cities, and nations. 

Too often in missions we have only asked: “What can I do?” We need to ask instead: “What must be done?” to fulfill our part in the Great Commission. 

We can’t afford to just say, “I will go and try to win some people to the Lord and start some churches.” We need to ask: “What will it take to see this one ethnos or these multiple ethnē discipled?”

In a challenging unreached region of multiple countries, a mission team served in many places and they saw 220 churches started in three years. This is very good, especially in light of their difficult and sometimes hostile contexts. But this team had a vision to see the entire region discipled. 

Their question was: “What will it take to disciple our region in this generation?” The answer was that a solid start (a start – not an end) would require 10,000 churches. So 220 churches in three years was not enough! 

God showed them that to reach their region would require multiple streams of rapidly reproducing churches. They were willing to change everything. When God sent them CPM trainers, they searched the Scriptures and prayed and made some radical changes. As of today, God has started 7,000+ churches in that region. 

An Asian pastor had planted 12 churches in 14 years. This was good, but it was not changing the status of lostness in his region. God has given him and his fellow laborers a vision to be a part of seeing all North India reached. They began the hard work of unlearning traditional patterns and learning more biblical strategies. Today 36,000 churches have been started. And that is only the start of what God has called them to. 

In another part of the unreached world God has started a cascade of movements from one language group into seven other language groups and five megacities. They have seen 10-13 million people baptized in 25 years but that is not their focus. When asked how he feels about these millions of new believers, one of their leaders said, “I don’t focus on all those saved. I focus on those we have failed to reach – the millions still living in darkness because we have not done what needs to be done.”  

A mark of these movements is that one person or a team of people accept a God-sized vision. To see an entire region of multiple countries filled with the Kingdom of God. To see an entire unreached people group – of eight million, or 14 million or three million – reached, such that everybody has a chance to respond to the gospel. They ask: “What must happen?” not “What can we do?” As a result they fit God’s patterns and are filled with His power. They play a part in birthing reproducing churches that begin to disciple and transform their groups. 

The initial 24:14 goal of movement engagements in every unreached people and place is not the finish line. It is just a starting line for every people and place (i.e. the groups of people in that place). We can’t finish the task among every group until the task has been started among every group.

To see Kingdom Movements in every people and place, we can’t rely on just choosing strategies and methods. We need to be ready and committed to pursuing the same dynamics God gave the early church. What will it take to see the gospel proclaimed as a testimony to all the ethnē (Matthew 24:14)? 


Stan Parks Ph.D. serves the 24:14 Coalition (Facilitation Team), Beyond (VP Global Strategies), and Ethne (Leadership Team).  He is a trainer and coach for a variety of CPMs globally and has lived and served among the unreached since 1994.

This material first appeared on pages 139-144, 147 of the book 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, available from 24:14 or from Amazon.

{1) The next 7 paragraphs are excerpted and edited from https://justinlong.org/2015/01/unreached-is-not-unevangelized-
is-not-unengaged/. See this article for more information on these terms.
(2) As described in “The 24:14 Vision”: 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, pp. 2-3.
(3) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, third edition, 2000. Revised and
edited by Frederick William Danker, based on Walter Bauer and previous English editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich,
and F.W. Danker. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, p. 276.
(4) It’s not easy to count and document a number this large, thus the estimated range.