During the 18 months of training with the missions agency of which I am now a member, one of our class assignments was to write an article about Bible translation to share with our church families back home. I decided to write an English version, of course, as well as the required Portuguese article, so it could be printed and shared both in Lowville and Itapecerica. If you read this two years ago, please read it again anyway, check out the websites mentioned, and ask God to challenge your heart afresh regarding this topic. I need to post about Bible translation again soon, because now some of the “statistics” mentioned in the article are my dear Neno friends, neighbors, and language helpers. Although they long for God’s Word in their own language, they don’t have it yet. Seeing this spiritual famine on a daily basis has brought me to tears many times and stirred my heart more profoundly than words could ever express.
Have you ever tried to imagine what our Christian life would be if we didn’t have the Bible in English? Even if we had somehow heard the Gospel and believed in Jesus, would we be able to follow Him without the complete Word of God? How could we seek wisdom for daily life, witness to the lost, clarify our doubts about God’s will, or seek His comfort in the midst of difficult circumstances? Jesus emphasized the importance of Scripture in Luke 4:4 – “As it is written, Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
We are blessed to have the Bible in our language. But not everyone has this blessing. Although there are currently 2,195 translation projects in progress, according to statistics published in 2014 by Wycliffe Bible Translators, there are still approximately 1,860 languages with no Scripture and a definite need. The process of Bible translation is long and challenging, requiring great dedication and investment of resources over a period of decades.
During our recent class in Bible Translation, I have become quite excited about this subject, spending extra time in research, as well as praying for unreached people groups, and for God to send more people to translate His Word. If He gives me the opportunity, it would be tremendous to be involved in translating the Bible for a Brasilian tribe, either directly or in a support role. Translation is an overwhelming task which would be impossible without God’s help, but He uses ordinary people as part of His great plan to reach all peoples, nations and languages with the Good News of Jesus.
May I extend the challenge to you as well? Ask the Lord to show you how you can get involved in Bible translation. Perhaps you could research and choose one specific language or people group as a personal prayer focus. Maybe you can support a Bible translation project. Or could it be that God wants to give you the incredible opportunity of actually going to an unreached people group? A couple excellent websites are www.wycliffe.org/resources/ and http://usa.ntm.org/about Let’s each get informed and do all that we possibly can to take His Word to the ends of the earth!