Why Bible translation?


making music at a traditional dance

Why are we involved in this? Why is it so important? The reason we keep coming back to the most is a quote by Cam Townsend (our organization’s founder): “The best missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue.” In other words, people don’t need to hear about us. They don’t need to hear our interpretation of who God is, or about how our culture interprets who God is. They just need to hear God. And that’s the whole point of the Bible – it’s God’s way of communicating directly to his people. It’s God’s way of empowering people, as Jesus said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” And we have seen, over and over again (especially in the lives of our national colleagues), that God is alive, active, and powerful, and He changes people’s lives… if that wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be much point, and missions work would be nothing more than another form of manipulation (as, tragically, has often happened in the world’s history when the church has truly missed the point!). And it certainly wouldn’t be worth the bother of repeatedly uprooting ourselves!


watching a celebration of the completion of five New Testament books in their mother-tongue

However, if people can’t hear what God is saying because it’s in a language they can’t understand, then they are left to think that God doesn’t speak their language, and they have no way to separate the truth from the lies that surround them. The messages that minority people groups so often receive from the majority groups around them – that they are less valuable, less capable, and less important – are difficult to refute without the authority of a higher power. But God’s word breathes truth into the lies, the pain, and the sin that is so devastating to all of us. We feel incredibly privileged to be able to help facilitate Bible translation.

More about the enormous and fascinating process of Bible translation here (for a great overview) or here (for more details).

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