When studying a particularly challenging passage of Scripture, have you ever looked it up in multiple versions to help you understand? What a privilege it is to have access to different versions of the Bible at our fingertips. Similarly, I have an English-Portuguese Bible that I use here in Mozambique. When the pastor reads a passage I follow along in Portuguese and then read it again in English to make sure I understand. Not knowing the nuances of the language, oftentimes I am struck by the Portuguese word that was used, making me consider the passage in a different light. This is a good thing, but just reading God’s Word in Portuguese is difficult and cumbersome for me. I may even misinterpret the meaning until I check it in English.
Having this experience has deepened my appreciation for Bible translation projects. There are 43 languages spoken in Mozambique and many people, especially those living in rural settings, don’t speak Portuguese, the trade language. I recently had the privilege of attending the Takwane Bible Dedication in the city of Mocuba. MAF used our brand new Caravan to transport several missionary families who had a part in the translation project to the dedication. This celebration was the culmination of almost 20 years of work to research, complete, and publish the translation. At one point during the celebration, a passage was read from the newly minted Bible, and although I could not understand what was being said, there was a thrill in listening to God’s Word in yet another language. I know that just as I sometimes struggle to understand Scripture in Portuguese and gain a much deeper understanding when I read it in English, there will be people who come to know Christ, or deepen their relationship with Him, as a result of hearing and reading God’s Word in their heart language.