No word for “grace”

In February 2018, three of our Nukna co-translators (Muransi, Emson and Tángiliong) came to Ukarumpa (the main translation centre in Papua New Guinea) to help Matt revise the first drafts of Galatians and Ephesians. God certainly blessed our time together, and guided us through the many passages that were a challenge to translate accurately and clearly into the Nukna language.

In his epistles, Paul often speaks of God’s grace, the free gift of his unmerited favour. However, there is no word for “grace” in the Nukna language. After much discussion, we decided to use a phrase that means “God gave his insides to us.” The “insides” are the seat of emotion in Nukna, like the heart in the English language. To give your insides to someone is to feel love toward them, to want what is best for them, and to do good things for them.

Hence, Ephesians 6:24 (translated from Nukna) reads like this: “May God give his insides to people who never stop loving our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Adapted from a story by Matt Taylor in the blog, The PNG Experience. Photo by Christy Taylor.