This issue is focused on how technology is empowering the church to translate scripture for every language in a faster, more efficient way than ever before.See all the articles
What is the one thing that is most deadly to the spread of the gospel to every tribe and tongue? Many would say the lack of money, manpower or vision. I believe it can be safely argued that dependency and the passivity it breeds is the most deadly problem for the spread of the gospel. Dependency prevents the one thing that is essential to all ministry success—ownership—ownership of the gospel and the Great Commission call to disciple all peoples. In this issue of MF we feature the tremendous power of God’s people to speed the completion of desperately needed Bible translations when average Jesus followers are empowered to take ownership in the process of Bible translation.
A major transition is occurring in Bible translation. This transition has been triggered by a foundational shift of historic proportions: the ownership of and authority over all aspects of Bible translation is returning to the global Church. For the first time in history, the global Church—soon to span every people group and language—is equipping themselves with digital technology that is not only useful in the distribution of translated Scriptures, but can play a key role in the Bible translation process itself.
From the beginning, the Bible was the common property of the Church. But today, in virtually every language where it is available, the Bible is not the common property of the Church and it is not freely available without restriction.The default licensing model of Bible owners today appears to permit good people to do good things, but prevents bad things from happening. On the surface, this sounds like a very good approach. There are, however, at least four significant shortcomings with it...
In a remote corner of South Asia, among ancient rocks and militant thorns, Christ’s church has taken root. They are isolated geographically, politically, religiously, economically, linguistically, and missionally. For years these congregations have only heard God’s voice in a foreign language. With no scripture recorded in their own language, their only option has been spontaneous personal or pastoral translation as they read and listen...
It has been 2000 years since the Lord Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” What is hindering the gospel’s progress in reaching all of the unreached people groups and languages? One major reason is that, over time, paradigms lose their effectiveness because the world changes. These days, what kinds of paradigm changes are needed in Bible translation to see all the remaining languages in the world have free access to God’s Word in their heart language, and in this generation?
Achieving the Hope and Promise of Using Technology for Bible Translation While Avoiding the Pitfalls
The Word of God is what changes lives and makes the growth of the Church possible in every people. Yet there are still thousands of languages that do not have a complete Bible and thousands more that have no access to Scripture or only just a few portions. Imagine being able to complete the initial task of getting the Bible translated into every language group that still needs one in just the next 10 years. That is the potential when mixing new machine translation technologies like the Sovee “Smart Engine” Bible software with the efforts of the people who will actually be using the translation.
At certain points in history key technological innovations can be directly correlated with the accelerated growth of Bible translation. In the mid to late 19th century, typewriters, communications, and rapid transportation (relatively speaking) generated a lot of change, and Bible translation surged with that change. In the early 1980s, the personal computer brought affordable word processing and immediate printing capability to the masses. Ten years later, the internet and email revolutionized communications. These innovations accelerated the completion of more than 1,200 language translations within a span of only ten years.
A number of controllable factors can prevent a disciple of Jesus from getting to the breakthrough of a movement of God: lack of effort, non-reproducible methods, and inattention to the highest value activities. But chief among them is lack of faith that God will start a movement “in this place, at this time, through me.” Without such faith all our efforts are in vain.
This article begins a two part series on the unfortunate consequences of foreign subsidy and offers suggestions to avoid them. The material is excerpted from the second chapter of the author’s book, Polemic Missiology in the 21st Century: In Memoriam of Roland Allen (Amazon Kindle, 2013)