Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why Bible translation?

Over the past couple of years when I was getting bogged down in the day-to-day, I often asked myself this question: "Why Bible translation?". Wouldn't it be easier just to teach people English? Wouldn't it be better if the Ik people translated what they wanted when they were able to on their own? Does any of this really matter? Is it worthwhile? What am I doing over here?

Despite the occasional doubts, I've been being reassured lately that it IS worthwhile. One good book I've been reading on the subject is The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible created the Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi. From the point of view of an Indian Christian intellectual, Mangalwadi shows that many of the things the modern world considers virtuous in fact originate in the Judeo-Christian worldview. It's a good read, if you're interested.

And today I was browsing the website of JAARS, the organization that does technical support for Bible translation around the world. I came upon this nice summary of why Bible translation is important and thought I'd share it with you.

For me, Bible translation is one, albeit big, part of a larger strategy. That strategy might be called Language Ministry: serving people in all things related to languag. Language Ministry includes Bible translation, dictionaries, scientific grammars, teaching grammars, literacy, literature, audio recorded literature ('orature'), written histories, oral histories, school curriculum, Christian curriculum, culture preservation, indigenous knowledge preservation, and last but not least, relationship through conversation. And this is part of an even larger strategy that is to share the love of Jesus with all the people groups of the world. We consider it a real honor to be a part of such a thing and to be partners with you in ministering through language to the Ik.

1 comment:

Rich and Sally Hoffman said...

We are sure that that the Mangalwadi book and the JAARS website can state the obvious in a much more detailed and elegant way; but our own answer, in what is probably one of the shortest discourses on any subject you’ve ever had from us, is: “Why NOT Bible translation?” or, conversely, “Why BREATHE?”☺☺