Saturday, January 27, 2007

Found Through Translation -

Found Through Translation -
"Most Christians search for the meaning of the New Testament. But for Alpheaus Zobule, the quest wasn't remotely metaphorical.

Growing up on a South Pacific island where life stops twice daily for church, he knew Christianity -- or thought he did. Yet he hadn't read the Bible; few people on his wave-whipped island had. They speak an oral language, Lungga, making them largely reliant on Methodist missionaries and lightly trained preachers to translate their faith.

Until recently, that is. Driven to make the Bible available to the 5,000-plus people who live on Ranonga in the Solomon Islands, the 37-year-old son of subsistence farmers came to the United States, earned master's degrees in linguistics and theology and spent six years figuring out how to write down Lungga -- all so he could translate the New Testament. ..."

Michelle Boorstein's article in today's Washington Post tells a story about a man whose thirst for God's Word compelled him to take a path that few western Christians have taken -- or even need to take. (On my laptop I have the full text of the NIV, NRSV, KJV, NASB and some other, lesser known translations -- as well as commentaries, dictionaries, and other resources. The browser can synchronize bible text and commentaries, and allow me to look up the meaning of the underlying Hebrew and Greek -- courtesy of the Zondervan Bible Study Library Leader's Edition 5.0. It boggles my mind to realize the extent to which this man has gone to achieve what is literally at my fingertips)

The task was complicated by the fact that Lungaa, like so many languages in the world, is not a written language. In fact, according to Wycliffe International, of the approximately 2000 current bible translation projects, the majority involve non-written languages.

Much is being discussed about the strength and growth of Christianity in the "Global South" -- it's stories like these that help to explain why.


Michael W. Kruse said...

Thanks for linking this. Fascinating story.

Denis Hancock said...

I'm a sucker for feel-good stories -- especially when they find their way into the mainstream media.

I recently linked to another story by Michelle Boorstein. She seems to do her homework, and writes in a sensitive and balanced way.

It isn't hard to understand why the spiritual leadership of the larger Church seems to be moving south...