Kurdistan (MNN) — After 28 years, Biblica’s team in Kurdistan is finished, and the Kurds have “an accurate, contemporary translation” of the entire Bible.
Hans Combrink of Biblica said it wasn’t an easy road. “There have been starts and stops, there have been wars, there have been disruptions of all kinds, but the team persevered and they finally saw the work brought to completion.”
Kurdistan is “a sensitive part of the world that’s difficult to work in,” explained Combrink. Since the region is made up of pieces of several countries, he thinks this new translation will help the Kurds feel a sense of identity and camaraderie.
“Bible translation is obviously tied up in language and culture — you can’t separate one from the other, said Combrink. “It forms people’s sense of identity.
“Relationships are key in any kind of work that we do, especially in sensitive parts of the world,” said Combrink. Kurdistan’s conflicts and religious context certainly qualifies, which is why Biblica teams worked side-by-side with indigenous translators instead of simply shipping copies in from somewhere offsite.
The translation’s dedication ceremony showed just how united the teams were. More than half the people who attended came from some kind of Muslim background. “The fact that there were so many people from other faith orientations at the dedication of a Christian Bible testifies to the fact that over many years, very important and lasting bridges were built in this community,” said Combrink.
Now it’s time to put the new Sorani Kurdish translation to use. Combrink said local Muslims often feel that they have a shared heritage with Christians since parts of the Old Testament are included in the Koran, and this has helped make them more receptive to the truth of Jesus Christ.
Indigenous churches need your prayer as they learn to use this new translation to reach neighbors around them. “Let us pray that God would establish His kingdom also through His Word in Kurdistan and that this translation would play an important and critical part in that process.”