New partnerships open in the Muslim world

By June 5, 2009

Middle East (MN) — U.S. President
Barack Obama is making friendly overtures to the Muslim world, to mixed reviews. 

On Thursday, Obama
called for a "new beginning between the United States and
Muslims," hoping to come together
in order to confront violent extremism and move toward peace in the Middle

Randolph and Eric Fellman with
World Bible Translation Center mirrored that goodwill with a trip to two cities in the
Middle East and the release of the Easy-to-Read Arabic Bible. Despite tensions among the politicians, Fellman
noted an enthusiastic reception to their presence: "You will have many Arabs that will say,
'If we could just get our governments out of the way, we wouldn't have all
these problems.' It's on that level that
I think there's a tremendous opportunity for the Gospel to spread."

People are very interested. Fellman says that an Arabic Bible is not a
new thing, however, their version is more user-friendly. The translation of the Arabic Bible
began in the 1800's with Reverend Eli Smith's burden for the millions of
Arabic-speaking people. With the help of prominent Arabic scholars, Smith
undertook translating the Bible into Arabic.

When Rev. Smith died before the
completion of the translation, Dr. Cornelius Van Dyke finished the work. A Mohammedan scholar, Sheikh Uysef el Asir assisted,
and in 1860, the translation of the Arabic Bible was completed. There hasn't been another similar undertaking
since 1860, (although there are other non-scholar translations available) which
means that the Van Dyke translation is read in antiquated Arabic.

Arabic is the 7th most-spoken language in the world. But outdated vocabulary and grammar make reading the Bible a challenge. WBTC
decided it was time to update the language of the Scriptures for this people

After almost 10 years of work,
WBTC has finally released the Easy-to-Read Arabic
Bible. The ERV Arabic Bible is a great tool because  "it's going to allow the person on the
street who's not familiar with Christianity to read and understand the Scriptures with the purpose of coming to know Jesus Christ."

People are finding the Easy-to-Read Arabic Scriptures
throughout the Middle East in bookshops, inside correctional facilities, in
orphanages, and throughout the network of underground churches.

It also helps dispel a lot of
misconceptions. Arabs have a deep-seated
respect for Jesus. Framed that way, you
can say, "We understand that you think this is a Christian book, but think
of this as a book about Jesus and see what you think about that. We've already
got a demand for 50,000 copies."  

There's a harvest coming. Please pray for everyone who will be
involved with distributing the Arabic Bible. Ask God to provide
many opportunities to spread His Word throughout the Middle East. If you can help, click here for details.

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