Today we had two sessions on Pre-Evangelism and two on Bible Translation. Pre-evangelism is the period before the missionary knows the language and culture while they are in a tribe. The way they live their life determines and greatly affects how the tribal people will relate to the missionary and how they will accept the gospel.
This will be one of the most time consuming parts of our ministry in the tribe. The average years it takes to translate the New Testament is 20 years. The number of people who speak a language with no Scripture is close to 1/2 billion people (out of 6.5 billion people in the world).
A difficulty that takes place in translating is that the Bible is full of words the tribal people have never said or thought. Though they don’t have these terms in their language, there is always a way to communicate the idea. For example, in Romans chapter 1 of the Joti Bible here were some new terms: bond-servant, Christ, apostle, gospel, God, prophet, holy, scriptures, resurrection, Spirit of holiness, grace, apostleship, obedience, Gentiles, called, beloved of God, barbarians, salvation, Jew, righteousness, wrath, heaven, ungodliness, unrighteousness, divine nature, fool, incorruptible, lusts, impurity, worship, punishment, judge, hope, sin…
We need to think about how would the tribal people communicate those concepts?
- “Gospel” means good news in Greek, so we could translate that into “good news” instead of “gospel” because they have words for good and news.
- “Faith” means believe, convinced, or persuaded. In the Bible it is a noun and a verb. So in the Joti you can translate the verb “faith” into “believe”, but how would you make it a “noun”? buteko (verb – to believe) + bao (verb – to remain) + bata (nominalizer – the stuff that is). “Faith” become “buteko-baobata” in Joti, which means the remaining believing stuff.
Another obstacle in the translation process is connotative meaning.
Think about these three sentences, they all have the same basic meaning, but different connotations.
- He has a big appetite.
- He eats too much.
- He’s a glutton.
In order to correctly translate the Bible in another language, we must be extremely fluent not only in the language, but the culture as well.
Hiking at the Waterfalls!
After class today we grabbed a sack lunch and then boarded a bus. We drove about an hour to a state park and went on a 4 mile hike around the most beautiful waterfalls! We had a blast!
“For God so loved the world…”
Who is God?
Why did he love the world?
What is love? (many cultures don’t have the word love in their language)
“…that He gave His only begotten Son…”
Was God married?
Why did He give us His son?
For what reason?
Who is God’s son?
How do you give a son?
“…that whoever believes in Him shall not perish…”
Where would we perish?
Why would we perish?
All we have to do is believe that God’s son exists?
“…but have eternal life.”
Does that mean we are not going to die?
What is eternal life?