Why translate the Old Testament?

Show me a tall building without a solid foundation. Show me a house with no roof where the rain will not come pouring in. Show me a house with a roof, but no walls or foundation. This is the picture of an incomplete Bible. The complete Bible has the Pentateuch as foundation, the rest of the Old Testament as the walls and the New Testament as the roof — they are inter-dependent.

How can anybody think of the Bible as complete without the Old Testament? It would be like living a life with no recollection of the past, total amnesia with no points of reference. Jesus Himself frequently quotes Scripture from the Old Testament. Omitting the Old Testament is equal to denying Jesus being Jewish. Denying Him His part in the Trinity. Denying the history of God’s plan for man’s redemption.

The old Testament exposes with brutal honesty man’s inadequacy and sinfulness against God’s omnipotence and covenant love. The two Testaments form a unity bound by God’s love and should never be separated. If we do not have the Old Testament, we would never know the great treasure we have received in the New.

Henrietta Mears said: “The New is in the Old contained. The Old is in the New explained. The New is in the Old latent. The Old is in the New patent.”

Let us not be arrogant in deciding what God should and should not have left out of His revealed word to us. Let us enjoy and learn whatever we can from what he Has given.

Let us then proceed to translate the complete Bible for everyone in the language God gave them.

A purpose-filled life

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Nel Claassen is a consultant working with the TWFTW.

She was introduced to the concept of Bible translation while studying theology. She did a specialized course in Bible translation after completing her theological studies.

TWFTW is a Bible translation organization that works only in languages in which the Bible has not been translated. The organization empowers indigenous speakers to translate God's Word into their own language. "Who is able to speak a language better than a person born into it?"

According to Nel, this method is more effective, time-wise as well as money-wise. "A lot of money is saved because it is not necessary to accommodate a foreign missionary family at great cost. Expatriates also have to spend many years learning to speak the language. It takes a trained team of indigenous speakers 3 years to translate the New Testament, and 8 years for the Old Testament."

Nel also spent considerable time in Israel studying Biblical Hebrew. She consults teams translating the Old Testament.

Her many travels to different places have not always been as idyllic. She lost her only child, a son of 20, while she was working in the Comoros. "So many of us on the mission field have suffered severe personal losses. Therefore, I maintain, if the Lord does not call you to be a missionary - do not go!”

Nel recently returned from four weeks of consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She says that to her, the greatest privilege is working with God's Word, the greatest gift is the Pentateuch, and working on Genesis is always a revelation.

Even though successful, it was a stressful time, as both her mom and niece were ill during this time. Communication was problematic, which made Nel feel as if she was constantly stumbling through the dark.

While in Ethiopia, she worked with three new teams: Borna, Yemsa and Basketo. She was blessed with two assistants to help her. The Yemsa team completed consultation on Genesis. The Basketo completed Ruth, Obadiah, Esther and Jonah.

Nel is thankful for all the support she receives - through prayer or financially!

In 1 Samuel 30:24 and 25 King David laid down the principle that all share in the spoils of battle. We are in this together! Grace and peace to all.

Nel Claassen, TWFTW Consultant

 

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Bringing Light to the Darkness!

The Democratic Republic of the Congo faced severe difficult situations in the past, which made the translation process of the Taabua Bible a long and difficult one. Due to the dedication of the translators, your support and prayers and through the Grace of God, the Taabua people received the Kitaabua audio New Testament!

The Taabua people of the DRC are so excited to receive these audio Bibles as they are planning to distribute them widely.

The Taabua New Testament is complete, but the people of DRC are yearning to have the Old Testament in their heart language as well. As at 31 December 2018 the Old Testament was 61% complete. Please continue to pray that the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo will receive the whole Bible in their heart language.

“Kalinde Nzika once summed up the eternal impact of the project when he wrote, “The Taabua Bible translation project is a splendid and powerful hammer to break the darkness in which the Taabua lived for so long. They were unseen, non-existent and ignored. But God will raise them up, as the Scriptures say in Hosea 2.23: …I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one’. I will say to those called ‘Not my people’, ’You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God’. The voice of God in Taabua will be with them and in them. He is in control.”

 

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God’s Words: Creating Unity and Transformation

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“Having the Word of God in my Ngindo language makes me happy. Reading it myself or with neighbours brings Unity.”

These are the words of Miriam, a Ngindo speaking lady from the Kitolgo village in Tanzania.

“I can see that God is the owner of all languages, I feel He is speaking to me. I love the Ngindo Bible.”

Being able to read the Bible in their heart language transforms lives, and the desire to read the Bible to themselves and their children increases.

449,618 people in Tanzania speak Ngindo. The New Testament was completed in 2016, but the Old Testament is only 33% complete.

Please pray with us that the Ngindo speaking people may receive the whole Bible to ensure further unity and transformation!

 

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Transformation From Generation to Generation

“What I find incredible and what really touched my heart is that this work that we are doing will be going from generation to generation; it will never end,” said Tago, one of the Basketo translators in Ethiopia. He and his team members, Abate and Tezera, recently completed the final consultation of 1 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah with the help of TWFTW consultant Nel Claassen. This means that these books are almost ready to go to print and is an exciting milestone for the team.

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The Basketo translation of the Old Testament is 28% complete. Since the project started, the impact on the community has been incredible. “Before, there was a resistance to the gospel, and even violence because of it. But because of Bible translation, the door for sharing the gospel is open. People are now asking for it,” said Tezera. “There is a pride that has developed because of Bible translation, because they recognise that they are important enough for God to have His Word in their language.”

Abate also said that a Basketo education program has even started because of the project. “This has given them an opportunity for a dictionary in their own language, something they’ve never had before. It is only because of Bible translation that this could happen. It makes the language precious, and it makes the people extremely happy.”

The impact that Bible translation is having on the Basketo people and the transformation that is happening in every sphere of their society is truly amazing. Your partnership with us is changing history, one people group at a time.

 

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Church Building in Tanzania

This church building-in-progress will soon house a congregation of 38 members and counting in a remote village in Tanzania.

George Chombo, one of the members of TWFTW’s Department of Promotions, visited this Nguu-speaking village at the end of last year and distributed recently printed New Testaments to the people. For the first time, these people were able to read the Bible and the words of Jesus Christ in their mother tongue!

At the time, the church only had 9 members, but in only 4 months it has grown now that the people have been reading the Word of God in their own language. Praise God for the faithfulness of the Nguu translators and of this pastor and his family who are building the church!

The Nguu Old Testament translation is currently 34% complete. Help the Nguu people to receive the complete Bible in their heart language!

Story and photos supplied by George Chombo.