Long before the internet existed I had twenty-six different translations of the English Bible in my office. Today, websites like Bible Gateway, Bible Hub and others offer an array of over sixty Bible translations in English. While some individuals will make arguments over specific translations, most people fail to investigate the purpose behind each translation and why it was made. As one of my college professors used to say, “You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Our Bible translators are hard at work translating Bible passages specific to unfolding the story of God in their pre-evangelism teaching lessons. If you recall, we (Ethnos360), teach the Bible chronologically. That is, we lay out the story of God on the timeline on which it took place across history. We begin with the nature and character of God, long before delving into the story of creation. That way you lay a firm foundation in the scriptures which will culminate in preaching the gospel.
Beyond translating scripture portions used in teaching, our missionary teams will eventually translate the entire New Testament for the people group where they minister. Can you imagine not having any of God’s Word in your own written language? …Or what if you couldn’t read?
Have you ever considered the immensity of the task of translating the Bible? Each book provides its own challenges. –As pointed out in a recent mission prayer update, consider how you would describe the elaborate decorations for the banquet scene in the book of Esther when such items don’t exist in the culture you are working among. Or what about theological terms, or metaphors such as ‘crucified with Christ’ and ‘putting on Christ’?
It can be a little daunting when you realize there are 7,957 verses in the New Testament and more than 23,000 verses in the Old Testament. As of September 2020 the entire Bible has been translated into 704 languages; the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,551 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,160 other languages. About 2,200 languages remain without a Bible.