Church leaders become the new ‘face’ of Bible translation

By December 22, 2021

International (MNN) — Yesterday, David Reeves of unfoldingWord explained how and why church networks are bringing Bible translation “in-house.” Today, Reeves offers a closer look at Church-Centric Bible Translation (CCBT).

Using the CCBT model, unfoldingWord helps church networks translate the Bible into minority languages. More about that here.

The end goal is to help church networks “understand tools, methodologies, and processes so well they turn around and teach another language community how to do it,” Reeves explains.

(Photo courtesy of unfoldingWord)

“They (believers) want to talk about Jesus in their language. We’re empowering them to do that in a way that doesn’t require our involvement at every step.”

Success stories

Many networks pair church planting with CCBT and unfoldingWord’s Gateway Languages Strategy to reach entire communities for Christ. “They’re trying to do church planting in minority language communities or unreached people groups,” Reeves says.

The “language of wider communication is inadequate to communicate the Gospel, or there are some geopolitical issues” that stand in the way, he continues.

To overcome challenges like these, unfoldingWord teaches its partners how to do translation work in the majority or “gateway” language. Then, believers can “take that same methodology and training and do it for all the minority languages they work with,” Reeves says.

“We do this in multiple countries across the planet.”

One endeavor helped believers in a former Soviet Union country. “They had never touched translation at all,” Reeves says.

“But the community walked through this journey [with] the Russian team helping them, and they translated 3 John by themselves.”

(Graphic courtesy of unfoldingWord)

People in the Russian Gateway Language church networks had scholarly skills in Greek and Hebrew, and theology.

“They were able to look back into the Greek and identify whether there were words added or words missing, the right meaning, all that, and we (unfoldingWord) never touched it,” Reeves says.

“I feel a lot more confident in that process because it is not a spot check, it’s a thorough check. It’s not done under the time crunch of you’ve only got it (the translation consultant) for two weeks,” he continues.

“They had the time to work at it thoroughly; look at it in detail.”

Find your place in the story

Now that you know, how will you respond? “We need prayer warriors. We’re dealing with some of the most difficult parts of the world,” Reeves says. Use prompts listed alongside this article to guide your intercession.

“Secondly, we need help,” Reeves says. See job openings at unfoldingWord.

“Interested? Please reach out and contact us.”

Last but not least, “we need Gospel patrons, benefactors, to join as partners in this. We’ve got several great opportunities [and] matching grants for our tools and software,” Reeves says.

Find three ways to join the Church-Centric Bible Translation movement here.



Header and story images courtesy of unfoldingWord.