Today at church we sang a song by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. It is called “Speak O Lord” and it really struck me today. I have heard it many times before, but today it fit so well with what has been on Daniel’s and my hearts lately and I thought I would use it to share with you what has been a huge topic of discussion and prayer in our home over the last year.
I’ll share the whole song with you at the end of my post, but for now, here are the first few lines:
“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You to receive the food of Your Holy Word. Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; Shape and fashion us in Your likeness, that the light of Christ might be seen today in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.”
Did you know that there are some 340 million people in the world that do not have the Bible in their native tongue, that is, in the language they know and understand best? This would be the language in which they think and pray. Some call it the heart language. In that 340 million people, there are over 2000 languages that do not yet have any portion of the Bible in their language. Among some of those languages their are even some churches who are trying desperately to disciple followers of Jesus, but without any portion of Scripture that the people understand. You can imagine a pastor’s work when he doesn’t have a Bible to use that his people understand to teach them the way of Jesus. You can imagine the error that can creep in over time when a church does not have the Word of God to teach and correct and train in righteousness.
This song struck me today because we were singing it as a preparation to hear the Word of God preached. “Speak, O Lord, as we come to you to receive the food of Your Holy Word.” A later verse asks God, “Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility; test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity. Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see You majestic love and authority. Words of pow’r that can never fail–Let their truth prevail over unbelief.” We could ask this today, knowing that God’s Word is what does these things for us. It teaches, corrects, rebukes, trains in righteousness. It tests our thoughts! But my heart was so heavy for those in the world today who do not even have a translation of the Scriptures available to them. Not one word is there for them. Not one.
Did you know that $5 million dollars was spent on developing the New King James Version of the Bible? Did you know that there have been 29 translations or revisions of the Bible in the English language…..since 1990? All while not one word is there for the 340 million Bible-less people. Not one word.
There is good news too, and that is that there are organizations out there working hard to close the gap and get a translation of the Bible in all of those languages that need one. There are those who have gone and those who have given, and those who are preparing to go. But the need is still great and if anything I have said here has struck a chord with you, I ask you to prayerfully consider getting involved in the task of Bible translation.
Daniel and I have been burdened so much by this need, that we are praying and doing what we can to prepare for however the Lord would see fit to use us for this task. Ultimately we cannot say right now what it is going to look like for us, but currently we are seeking to further Daniel’s education (and possibly my own) in a way that will benefit this task. But don’t let the fact that Daniel is on his way toward a Ph.D. let you think that you would not be able to join in the work. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to do Bible translation, only a willing heart and a love and reverence for God’s word. The rest will work its way in. If you want to know more, check out Wycliffe Bible Translators, not the only translation organization out there, but one of the best. If you are not convinced this is a real need (and even if you are), check out the Hare family’s blog. They are friends of ours from seminary who are currently in preparation to go to Cameroon, West Africa to begin a Bible translation. They have done a wonderful job using their blog to explain the need and why they feel God is calling them. Check it out.
Now, if you have time (and maybe you do, since you just read my long post!), listen to this song and thank the Lord that you have His Word to teach and correct you and train you in righteousness. Ask the Lord that He would send workers who would bring His word to those who do not have it; “words of power that can never fail”—that He would cause ” their truth [to] prevail over unbelief.”
“Speak O Lord till Your church is built, and the earth is filled with Your glory.”