This is Part 4 in a series of 6 articles defining and explaining the heartbeat of WorldView Ministries. My burden is to clearly relate who we are, what our God-given vision is, and how we are taking the steps necessary to achieve our vision.
Core Value #3: Scripture Translation
Translating the Scriptures into the heart language of a people is required for effectively propagating the gospel and facilitating church planting movements.
How does one plant a church or disciple a believer without a Bible? Consider how weak the church here at home would be if the only one who had a readable Bible was the Pastor. To what level could the believers grow in grace? Would it not be limited? What American pastor is content for his people to only get the Scripture and the truth he preaches from the pulpit on Sunday? Every pastor who takes seriously his call to shepherd and who loves his people challenges them to go home and read the Bible for themselves. He challenges them to let the Word of God speak directly to them, allowing the Spirit of God to use the Word of God to change them into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
Many Christians wrongly assume that there are missionaries everywhere, and there are Bibles everywhere. That is far from the truth. There are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, and over 4,000 of those still have no scripture. This great lack of Scripture means that church planting and disciple making are severely crippled in much of the world.
A missionary can go anywhere and preach the Gospel. As long as the Gospel is either spoken in or translated into the language of the people, this preaching can bring about the conversion of the lost because the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” However, it is not possible to send out an effective national church planter without putting into his hands a Bible he can read. How would he shepherd a flock without a Bible?
When a national pastor stands to proclaim truth, where does his authority come from? Will the people believe him when he says, “This is the message from the book the missionary brought to my village, and it came from God?” The national pastor needs to be able to hold a book in his own language and say with confidence, “thus saith the Lord.” History proves that no nation has ever become a majority Christian nation as long as the message preached and the Bible used are in a foreign language. To the people without a Bible in their language, it will always be a foreign religion. Therefore, the translation of the Scripture into their heart language is required for the effective propagation of the Gospel and for the facilitating of church planting movements.
WorldView holds to a conservative text and a conservative philosophy of translation. We rely on the Textus Receptus of the New Testament and the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. We believe the Authorized Version of Scripture is the Word of God for English speaking people. We believe the same philosophy of translation should follow in providing the Word of God in other languages with the primary source being the Greek and Hebrew and the translation work being carefully compared to translations of Scripture in other languages. We ask those who do not agree with our textual position to grant us to liberty to hold it, just as we charitably give the liberty for other positions.
Our goal is to provide an accurate, readable translation that is as close as possible to the original text. We are committed to formal equivalence (translating the words) rather than dynamic equivalence (translating the meaning), The more preferred term would be essentially literal translation. This simply means that we strive for accuracy while understanding the necessity of adjusting to the receptor language in order to bring proper meaning to the text. We are guided by the philosophy, “as literal as possible, as free as necessary.” Fidelity to the words of Scripture must be balanced by an understanding of the language of the culture. This requires various and numerous checking methods from proofreading by the people of the church to the partnership and oversight of well-trained Bible translation consultants.
We believe the best translation work is accomplished with the help of those who are native speakers of the target language. In every project, the goal is to train and develop helpers from the target group to work on our team. There are two approaches or levels to our training. Both levels assume that the trainee has a solid theological foundation upon which to build the knowledge of Bible translation work.
The preferred level is to enroll the national in our two-year program that is on the level of a master’s degree. This is a full program of linguistics, Bible translation theory and biblical languages. This will equip the translator to become a consultant or project leader who can then assist us in the development and training of a translation team. This individual can be the lead translator for any particular language. WorldView’s goal is to officially partner with these individuals to develop and finish translations, providing continued oversight, training and full partnership during the project. Our school is currently located in India. The Lord has allowed us to train many students, several of which we are now working with closely in various projects. There are definite plans to reproduce this training institute in other places as the Lord allows.
Since not everyone we desire to work with can attend our training institute, the alternate level of training is to partner in an official capacity with a missionary on the field who has a burden to see Scripture translation accomplished for the people God has sent him to reach. With that missionary providing on-the-field supervision, WorldView will first arrange for a series of modular classes in which a basic knowledge of linguistics, Bible translation theory and biblical languages will be taught. This training develops a translation team member. Secondly, WorldView will assign one or more consultants to that project whose role will be to visit the project as often as necessary to provide continued training, encouragement, oversight and to help perform various checking methods. This consultant will also provide the necessary scholarship level in biblical languages to ensure accuracy in the translation. This is the case in both of our projects in Uganda. The Runyankore team has four faithful translators on the team, and the Ma’adi project has five.
WorldView recognizes the urgent need for the help of God in the work of translation. Would you pray that God would grant us His wisdom and help us be faithful to His Word?