“There were four clergymen who were discussing the merits of various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version best because of its simple, beautiful English.
Another liked the Revised Standard Version best because it is more literal and came nearer to the original Hebrew and Greek.
Still another liked Moffat's translation because of its up-to-date vocabulary.
The fourth minister was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he replied, ‘I like my mother's translation best.’
The other three expressed surprise. They did not know that his mother had translated the Bible.
But he assured them, ‘She translated it into life, every day of her life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.’” *
Earlier this year, we celebrated 41 years of indigenous Bible translation; and as we reflect on all that God has done in these four decades, we are thankful and humbled by His work in the lives of so many people. This week, we are especially thankful for all women, and their roles as mothers and grandmothers. As we partnered with indigenous communities over the years, we have noticed that our work at TWFTW wouldn’t be possible without the expertise, input, guidance, and insights of the women who are mothers in their families and also to their communities - both on our own teams, as well as the women at a grassroots collaboration level.
They have been, and remain, indispensable.
Some of our staff have described the experience of learning from the women who offer an important, unique perspective when translating the Bible into their heart languages. The collaborative work done in the field is profoundly affected by the input of women who have had the experience of motherhood - we have found that the quality and human relationship aspect of our translations are richer and more nuanced which enhances the acceptability by the local community. It is vital in the work of Bible translation to have mothers on our teams and involved in whichever capacity they feel called. There is a real need for women increasingly to be involved in both translation and interpretation work. Mothers and fathers share equally in the image of God and both are needed to bring a full, natural, clear and accurate translation of God’s Word to fruition in all of our TWFTW projects globally. For a community to accept a Bible translated into their heart language, it needs to have the same impact on them as the original written words had on the original readers and hearers of the books of the Bible.
It is interesting to note that historically there has been a higher percentage of women than men that have heard and interacted with the Bible message. Not necessarily through the written word because of low literacy levels and minimal schooling for girls - but through high levels of engagement in Christian community, hearing and doing the Word. Teaching God’s Word to the next generation and bringing them up in the ways of the Christ.
Barna has completed an interesting research study on how faith is nurtured in homes in the USA. Even though it is not the same as all other cultures globally, it is possible to see some parallels within many cultures. Household of Faith is the 2nd in the series which aims to give a vivid picture of the daily life of American Christian households. One aspect from their article stands out in connection with our focus on Mother’s Day this week:
“Practicing Christians in their teen years consistently identify mothers as the ones who provide spiritual guidance and instruction and instill the values and disciplines of their faith in the household. Moms are their foremost partners in prayer (63%) and conversations about God (70%), the Bible (71%) or other faith questions (72%). This is consistent with Barna data through the years that show mothers to be the managers of faith formation (among other household routines and structures). Mothers are also the ones encouraging church attendance (79%) or teaching kids about the Bible (66%), God’s forgiveness (66%) and religious traditions (72%).”
This week you might have seen our #wednesdaystory of an amazing woman who shared her testimony with us. Let’s hear more from her:
"As a former Muslim woman, now I have no fear and doubts. I know — I have seen and I believe that Jesus Christ is the Healer and Savior. For many years my son suffered from epilepsy. I have cried and prayed for many years.
Now I can say that I have found a Healer who is Jesus Christ.
I received the Ngindo Bible from one of the Ngindo translators, Mr. Exaviel Mtwiku. I started reading the book of Mathew, and it became a way of believing and seeing that Jesus is the only Savior. So, I kept reading and began to see that this is the way to heal my son. I also continued to share with the Ngindo translators and learned how to read and how to pray.
A few days later I saw myself that my son was completely healed! I ran to share with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and many of those people now have great peace and happiness because of Jesus.”
At TWFTW, we rejoice to see communities empowered to take ownership of Bible translation in their heart languages - to be able to engage with God’s Word, to learn to read and write in their own language, to experience the truth that God does speak in their language, that He is their God, and we are all His children no matter our language! Our God sees us, knows us and wants us to know Him. It is inexplicable joy to see our Father bring meaningful, life-changing impact into people’s lives by the exposure to His Living Word!
At TWFTW, we long to see God’s kingdom come and His will be done by empowering indigenous persons and organizations for Bible translations. Over 1 billion people worldwide do not have any Scripture in their mother tongue. Our prayer is that more and more women like Fatma can receive the Bible in their heart language, and proclaim, as she does, “Freedom has come into my life and my family.”
Become part of the vision to bring God’s Word to all people in their heart language by 2050! Let all of God’s children unify in our efforts to go and take the proclamation of the Gospel to all the people of the earth.
If you would like to become part of the vision to bring God’s Word ot all people in their heart language by 2050, you can do so in a variety of ways through TWFTW. You can become a prayer partner, share our posts on social media, donate, and/or sign up for our newsletters where you will get more in-depth stories and details of our exciting work.
* Title: "Puppies for Sale and Other Inspirational Tales"
Author: Dan Clark
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc. (1997)
**The statements in italics are quotes from translators and community members gathered from interviews and events. They are curated here with permission. No individual or project names have been used to ensure the privacy and security of our people.