Did you ever have to assemble something? If you don’t have all the pieces, or put them together incorrectly, the item won’t work efficiently, or maybe not at all.
A lot of pieces have to come together for God’s Word to inspire minds and change hearts. It goes beyond translating Scripture. In Ezekiel 37, we read how God showed the prophet a valley of dry bones. The bones lay unarticulated, without purpose, until He clothed them with flesh and breathed life into them.
Unused Scripture is like those dry bones—it’s useless unless people are reading, hearing, studying, worshiping, and sharing the life-changing Word. The Word needs to be brought into lives in order to change lives.
Fleshing it out
If Scripture is new to your language, you don’t have liturgies, lectionaries, hymnals, study guides, Scripture apps, Bible dictionaries…the list goes on and on. Helping develop such resources to encourage people to use Scripture so they come to a deeper understanding of God’s Word is a big part of what LBT missionaries do. Working with local churches and communities, they find the right pieces that will educate, encourage, and enrich worship in culturally appropriate and meaningful ways. The Word becomes more than just words in a strange new book. It becomes real, vital, and relevant.
A need for more
Martin and Joan Weber work through Lutheran Bible Translators under the Cameroon Lutheran Church to equip and encourage Bible translation, literacy and Scripture use in seven languages. One of their projects is to act as mentors to those who are translating Old Testament lectionary readings for the Kwanja, Dowayo and Vuté languages. With these lectionary readings, many Old Testament selections, including Psalms, will be in print and available to be read as prayers and for worship.
There is an active literacy program in the Kwanja community and audio Scripture is available for those not able to read. But Kwanja churches saw the need for more, requesting assistance with the lectionary. “Kwanja pastors got very involved with the project,” said Martin and Joan. “They came to share their advice and to encourage us when we were working out formatting issues for their lectionary book. They were saying: ‘This is ours.’”
Learning about Jesus Christ—who and what He is, His impact on the world at large and ourselves as individuals, how we are to respond and interact with Him—is a lifelong study. God is too big, our lives are too complex, and too much is at stake to just hand the printed Scripture over and walk away. Like the dry bones, the Word must be brought to vivid life, touching people profoundly to help them grow in their walk of faith.