There is a recurring theme when I’m talking to people about the need for bible translation and for hearing the bible in the language of the heart….Here in the United States we speak English. We live in a huge country, with one primary language. So it is easy to expect foreigners who come to the U.S. to learn English and assimilate into OUR culture. There is often even an intolerance to speakers of other languages within the borders of the U.S. if they don’t also speak English….
What percentage of understanding must a person have to be considered fluent??
If someone is 70% fluent…do you think they understand enough to get around? 80%? I think most would consider 80% fluency to be pretty decent…. However, if you lose 20% of the context of more difficult words…even this much loss of understanding can distort the message of the Bible.
Consider the implications this level of understanding has for the crux of the gospel message..John 3:16
If you only understand 80% of a language, this means you have to remove 5 words from John 3:16. 5 words may not seem like a lot, but consider the words that are the most difficult to understand for someone who is trying to hear about the Gospel in a language other than their heart language…
If I had to pick…I personally feel that the word love, gave, believes, perish, and eternal are difficult to understand. In many languages these word can have different meanings based on context, so could easily be lost in the translation….
This leaves us with: For God so the world that He his only Son so that everyone who in Him may not but may have life.
So what’s missing?
If we can’t bring the word of God to people in the language of their heart, crucial components of God’s love for us, and His sacrifice on the cross, and our need for a savior are lost in translation. Without that…we certainly aren’t giving a gospel of good news.
To give you perspective….in the United states we have over 100 translations!! I personally have over 17 Bibles of various translations in my home…. Even though I could only find 13 for the picture…
So needless to say….with 1.5 billion people around the world not having the living and active Word of God in a language that they can understand… the harvest is many and the workers are few. There is a TON of work to be done.
What can WE do….
Pray…pray that the the Lord of the Harvest will raise up workers
Send…If you want to know how to come alongside by financially partnering with us in our ministry with wycliffe visit our partner with us page
Go….We are ALL called to respond to the great commission. Ask the Lord of the harvest if you are to respond with Samuel’s response and say “here am I, send me.”