Encouragement From The Word

Do you hear what I hear?

            What would you say if I told you that 50% of the world would never be able to hear the Bible in their heart language?  Yes, I did say 50%, and yes, I did say “hear”.  Intrigued?


            There are still around 3900 languages into which not one word of the Bible has yet been translated.  Some of those languages are strictly oral; that is, they have no written language – just spoken.  (A useful tidbit of information:  it was the Christian faith, and the desire to bring the Scriptures to new peoples, that brought about the creation of written languages in such places as Russia!)


            In some places, it would be, perhaps, impractical to publish printed Bibles where the culture is predominantly (or exclusively) oral.  In the coming months, the Canadian Bible Society will be partnering with an organization with which we have been involved before, called Faith Comes By Hearing.  It used to be a business that produced cassette tapes of the Bible for sale in different languages.  In more recent years, the organization has ‘morphed’ into a ministry that raises funds through major donors to be able to provide the Scriptures in a variety of languages via electronic players called ‘Proclaimers’.  They are programmed to broadcast the Bible being read in a particular language, and are powered by either the sun or a crank (when the sun is not out).  So far, they have been made available in 290 languages; their desire is to produce an audio Bible for every translation that has been prepared by a Bible Society or Wycliffe Bible Translators.  Where these Proclaimers are being used, the church is growing like gangbusters.


            This shouldn’t be surprising.  What has been learned by those who study mission is that the church grows exponentially where the common language of the people is used for worship and evangelism.  So it’s exciting to see the Word come alive to people for whom it might otherwise have been unknown because of the barrier of literacy.


            So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (Romans 10.17, NLT).  We who have the Scriptures in printed form, and can read them, may be inclined to take them for granted.  But 50% of the people in this world will never be able to afford to buy a Bible, even if they can read a language.  So our partnership with Faith Comes By Hearing will, we pray, help to bring the Bible alive in the hearts of more and more people as we seek to reach every person with the life-giving Word of God, and encourage its use.