The Washing of the Water of the Word

A favorite part of my ministry with Wycliffe Associates is the time I get to spend studying the Word with other believers from various cultures. As we work together to translate Scripture so that other minority languages can read His Word in their heart language, God takes that very Word and works it into our hearts, giving us new insight, building our faith, and empowering us to proclaim His truth to others.

During the workshop, the translators are saturated with Scripture. After a portion has been translated one of the steps in the process of checking that portion is working through the translation with the translator and making sure that it is not only clearly expressed but also accurate. I get to sit with the translator and their editor and ask questions, discuss the meaning of the passage, and check for key words and concepts.

Last month in Botswana, I was working through this step with a young man named Teboho, reading through his translation of Romans 11; we struggled to affirm that the complex subject of Israel’s disobedience, opening the door for the Gentiles was clearly expressed.

As we read this verse, “Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it,” (Romans 11:12 NIV) Teboho, sat back, threw his hands in the air and cried, “I’m starting to understand this for the first time! I can’t believe it. This passage is amazing!”

“Tell me what you are understanding!” I said, catching his enthusiasm. The living quality of God’s Word was once again evidenced before my eyes!

“Really what Paul is saying here is that God can use people’s disobedience to open doors for other people to know him. And if God can do that, how much more blessing is there when people choose to obey him!”  Teboho explained. Then he shook his head in awe. “It’s really good. I’m going to have to study it more.”

Like others at this workshop—and many workshops around the world—Teboho has studied Scripture in second langauge his whole Christian life. He doesn’t have a translation of God’s Word into his own language to study from—not yet anyway. Teboho’s English is excellent. His understanding of Scripture and his passion for God’s Word are powerful. His enthusiasm for getting God’s Word translated into his own language is unquenchable. Because Teboho has experienced for himself the difference it makes to hear God’s Word in his own heart language. He has felt the power of God’s message moving through the channels of his life, speaking clearly of God’s love and desire for people to be in relationship with him. And he can’t wait to share that precious gift—that blessing with others. For Teboho has seen for himself “how much more blessing there is when people choose to obey him.”

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