For twelve and a half years I translated the Bible into a West African language. The New Testament has now been translated and printed. We will finish the Old Testament soon. For twelve years I checked the meaning of rough drafts in this wonderful African language. There are 31,104 verses in the Bible, and we labored over every single one of them. I left Lamentation and Song of Solomon for last. Translating Song of Solomon I kept saying, “We can’t put that in the Bible!” I could not wait to finish the task I had been working on for 12 years. I kept thinking, “When we finish this, we are going to throw a party.” But when I finished checking the last of those 31,104 verses, when that last verse was completed, I felt an overwhelming sense of grief. Tears welled up in my eyes. I said, “Aren’t there any other verses of the Bible I can check? Is that all there is? Isn’t there any more of that? Because that was good!
Digging through the Bible made me a better husband. Even the mildew chapters of Leviticus, even the book of Lamentation, I never knew how it worked, but when I was digging through Scripture, I treated my children better, I became a better husband. I loved my wife with better romance. I was nicer to my colleagues. I achieved more. My motivation went up. Where can a man get something like that? What words are there that make you a better person, that give you life and transform your family into a context of joy?
What has the Bible done for your life? What is the Bible in English worth to you? If you had never seen a Bible in English, how much would you pay for one? How has the teaching of the Bible changed you? What would you be like without the Bible? What would your children be like? What about your marriage? What would this country be like without the Bible? Would we have the things we have? Would we have the government we have? What would you give for the Word of God? Would you give your house, your money, your spare time, would you invest your life?
In Deuteronomy 11:18-21 God talks about His Word:
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many…”
God wants us to make His Word the core of our lives. We have it and we can do that. What would it be worth to you for others to get the Bible in their language so they too can have this life relationship with God and his Word? Would it be worth your life, your health, your money?
We’ve seen the Bibleless peoples. We have lived among them. We know what its like not to have the Bible in your heritage –not to have access to the life that comes from God’s Word. It’s not okay with us. We in Pioneer Bible Translators are all giving our lives to see transformed hearts through God’s Word in every language.