“You learn our language, and give us God’s Word, so we will know how to live.” Photo: Natasha Ramirez

No matter how long you have been a believer, the Bible is essential for teaching us more about the Lord and the way He wants us to live. God’s goal is to move us from simply being converts to being growing disciples. We are to be students, ever learning from the Word of our Teacher.

That’s why Bible translation is so important. It ensures that believers and non-believers alike can understand the Word, because it is in their mother tongue, the language they know best.

When Nitya Ongkodharma, a Bible translator and Wycliffe’s first Indonesian worker, entered a village in her nation to begin a project, people were curious. Right away an older lady asked, “Why have you come? Everyone is asking!”

Nitya said she and her translation partner wanted to learn their language.

“We heard that, but why would you want to learn our language? There are much more important languages you could learn, like English or French. Why have you come here, really?”

Nitya elaborated. They wanted to learn the people’s local language so God’s Word could be translated.

The lady gasped and drew back, her eyes widening. Tears ran down her wrinkled face as she told Nitya there had been a church in her village for many years, but they read the Bible in a language the people couldn’t understand. Her husband, a traveling preacher, had great difficulty helping people understand the Bible.

“On Sunday, we go to church, and we are Christians, but the rest of the week we don’t know how to live,” she said. “We appease the old spirits. You come. You learn our language, and give us God’s Word, so we will know how to live.”

A thought to ponder: What would your life look like today if God’s Word were not available in the language you know best?

Heavenly Father, there are many ways to live the life you give to us, but the only way that pleases you is based on the principles reflected in your Word. Please help me to realize anew that your inspired Scripture is the only true teacher for my existence here on earth. Keep me learning and applying it. And please inhabit the work of those bringing Your Word to so many people still waiting. Amen.