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.

The Life & Times of Translation Consultants

The Word for the World is currently working on 111 full scale Bible translation projects, each one representing a language. For 111 projects, there are only 10 full-time translation consultants! They have their plates full checking the translations against Greek and Hebrew, usually in person, but sometimes over Skype or email.

Barry Funnell, one of TWFTW’s international consultants, travels approximately 10 times per year to Asia and Africa doing consultant work, which totals about one third of the year in time away from home. He also has been doing Skype consultation in between with the Roma team from Slovakia, as you can see in the video.

Mary* is another consultant with TWFTW and has just returned from a trip to Asia, where she worked with six language teams to check their Gospel of John. The Paratext computer programme enables Mary to check six languages simultaneously because she can look at an English word-for-word translation generated by a computer of all six languages even though they are written in a script she can't read or understand. Please pray for Mary as she goes to Malawi soon to check Psalms and other Old Testament books in the Lambya project!

Please also pray for Nel Claassen, who will be in Ethiopia in May consulting on the Pentateuch, and who will also be doing an email consultation on a project in Southeast Asia. We thank God for technology that makes what we do more accessible and efficient!

If you would like to know more about becoming a consultant, visit our Volunteer page at twftw.org/volunteer.

Veronique Krüger

*Pseudonym