If you are reading this, there is a Bible you can read.
For nearly 500 years, if you are an English speaking person you have been able to have a Bible in your heart language, your native tongue. William Tyndale is credited with completing an English translation of the New Testament in 1526 with a full version of the entire Bible completed by Mile Coverdale and published in 1535. Up until this era, the printed word of God was in Greek, Hebrew or Latin.
We take an English Bible for granted. We open our Bible app or pick up a printed version and think nothing of reading about the wonders of God in our own language.
At our May 2021 Pastors’ Study Club I gained a whole new appreciation for one of the miracles of Pentecost and the heart of God to make sure people hear the “wonders of God in our own language.” Dr. Chris Pluger and his wife Janine spoke of their work with Lutheran Bible Translators. This group of individuals has as a mission to bring the written word of God into the hands of 180 million people who do not have a Bible in their heart language.
He spoke of the 3.5 year project he completed in 2016 of bringing the New Testament to the Nsenga speaking people of Zambia, Africa. This group of 2 million people until 4 years ago did not have a Bible in their native language. Now they do. This video link is to the celebration they had when they received the New Testament in the Nsenga language for the first time.
Translation of the song:
We are happy, we have joy
We are very happy, we Nsenga people
Because you have given the Nsenga Bible
We are very happy, we Nsenga people
(NOTE: Dr. Chris and his wife are headed to Ethiopia in August of 2021 to oversee work on 20 more translations of the Bible. To receive his newsletter or support his work financially, go to www.lbt.org/pluger.)
The Spirit of God is intent on bringing the message of the Gospel clearly to the ears of people. It is true that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but as the Apostle Paul said,
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
… 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17)
At Pentecost, the Spirit of God ensured that those that were there “heard the wonders of God in their own language” (Acts 2:11) A project that humanly speaking would have taken at least 3.5 years for each language represented at Pentecost was done in 3.5 seconds with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
God has gifted us the message of the Gospel in our hearts. He has gifted us a printed copy of the Bible in our language. The Church, which includes each of us, was established by the Spirit of God to be the instrument to take the Gospel message and communicate it clearly in the language of those that need to hear. So receive the gift …and then let’s share it confidently (more tomorrow!).
Apply: What is your first memory of hearing the Word of God…or reading the Word of God? Perhaps you don’t have one. Take time this week to read your favorite chapter of the Bible and then thank God’s Spirit for giving you the Bible in your heart language.
Prayer: Spirit of God, thank you for giving to me the Words of God in the language I understand. Forgive me for taking it for granted. Inspire me to bring the word of God to others that they may hear, believe and be saved. AMEN.