Does Þe word of Criſt dwelle in ȝou plenteuouſly? 1 Surely we should make it our goal to have His word dwelle in us plenteuouſly. Of course, this would be easier if someone took the time to translate this late 1300’s, Middle English version of Colossians 3:16 into words we could actually understand.
In 1384, John Wycliffe and his associates completed the monumental task of translating the Bible into the common language of his native people group, English. He thought it could be a great help for the believer if they could study Christ’s words in the language they knew best.2 And it truly was; this was a bold and amazing work that led to multitudes understanding God’s word and His will for their lives, even leading to the many Bibles we have access to today.
But imagine if over 635 years later that Wycliffe’s Bible was still the only translation of the Bible available. Do you think, as Paul writes in Colossians 3:16, that the word of Christ could truly dwell in you richly if you hardly understood His words? God can certainly work through any translation, but there was a reason the crowds at Pentecost “heard them each of us in our own native language” (Acts 2:8).
Many ethnic communities around the world are in a similar situation. When trying to encounter God through His word Bible translations may exist, but they are often outdated and disconnected from the culture, creating a barrier between people and the good news of the Gospel.
Our teams work to break down that barrier by involving and training mother tongue translators in the process of translating God’s word into a clear, easy to understand message that truly speaks the heart language of the community. Listen to how God has used this work to impact a man’s life:
“Hello, my name is [ ] and I am from South Asia. In 2018 I came to believe in Jesus as my personal Savior. Usually, I read an older translation of the Bible for daily use, but one day I was invited to help edit a new translation of the Bible in my language.
It was much easier to read and understand than my old Bible. In this new translation God really spoke to me through Philippians 1:21
“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
After reading this verse, I rejoiced in the Lord, because now I know the purpose of my life in Christ. I thank God for the translators and all who are working on this task for us. I pray that God would help us get the whole Bible translated. Thank you!”
*names, faces, and exact locations altered for security purposes
When God came to dwell among us in Jesus of Nazareth, in what way did He communicate with us? Did He choose to speak the common government and trade language of the day, Greek? Or maybe the scholarly religious language of Hebrew? No, He spoke the heart language of the people He was called to, the common language of the people, Aramaic.
We want our ministry to have this same spirit of Christ, and believe by God’s grace that it does. We seek to communicate God’s word directly to the hearts of those to whom we are called. Is the Lord leading you to join us in this calling? If so, please pray and seek with us as we work that the word of Christ might richly dwell in our hearts, and in the hearts of those yet to know Him.
-Rhema for the Nations