Blurring the lines of evangelism
March 4, 2022

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Consider the word evangelism--sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others takes on so many different shapes and sizes. Now, consider the phrase, Bible translation. Do you think of a dedicated missionary couple pouring over books in a foreign land? Do you think of desks and dictionaries? Maybe a few people huddled around a computer arguing about semantics?

At first thought, these two foundational Christian pursuits might seem to be distant cousins at best. The truth is that evangelism encompasses much more than making converts, and Bible translation is so much more than a word game between languages. Did you know that all across the world, The Word for the World is empowering indigenous Bible translators to enact immediate, positive, life-giving transformations in their families and communities?! The relationships forged in the crucible of a community-owned, locally-supported, and Spirit-inspired Bible translation project become a powerful source of trustworthy transformation for both the individual and their family and friends. Communities strive together to overcome the historical traumas of marginalization and oppression by:

  • working together to develop and preserve their language and culture
  • creating new literature and godly media
  • increasing mother-tongue literacy and birthing new opportunities for their children
  • translating the Bible and, often for the first time, understanding God's love, the power of faith in Christ, and the hope sealed in the Holy Spirit.

Consider the pastor who becomes the first to read the Bible publically to his people; or the cynical non-believer who finds Jesus despite his best efforts to refute a translator's work. Consider the sickly elder who finds spiritual and physical healing while gathered to review a gospel draft; and the father who is finally able to inspire his children to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic in their own native tongue. These are not just examples--they are real stories of peoples forever changed by working with indigenous Bible translators.

At the core of our training, we teach our translators to understand the Biblical text and then make it understandable in their own language. The first part connects a person deeply and securely to God; the second requires that connection to include family and community. The process of bringing one's community together to collaborate on understanding the Bible and making it understandable is a powerful expression of evangelism. The Word for the World does not just create Bible translations, we empower community transformation.

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