Tensions continue in the Middle East, new Bible may help

By November 3, 2006

USA (MNN) — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reportedly is making efforts to defuse tension among Lebanon’s political parties including working for the cancellation of planned street protests that threaten Lebanon’s anti-Syrian government. While Lebanon faces problems, terrorists throughout the Middle East threaten stability in the region.

However, the World Bible Translation Center’s President Gary Bishop is hopeful that their new Easy-to-Read Old Testament will help ease some of those tensions. “It’s really a thousands-of-years-old story that needs to be told today because it has tremendous relevance to how the Islamic faith person is, in fact, looking at their worldview, relating to other religions and in many cases why terrorism exists.”

According to Bishop the New Testament was completed a few years ago, but the Old Testament is close to completion. “Right now we’re going through our final edits, and getting all of our checks done,” says Bishop. “Those should be completed in December and, Lord willing, in January we’ll introduce the complete Arabic Easy-To-Read Bible.”

Bishop says this translation will be helpful to Arabic speakers for two reasons. “It reads on the third to fourth grade reading level. And secondly, it’s written in contemporary language, so that they’re not trying to struggle through ancient language and a more sophisticated reading level to understand the story that they are dealing with great conflict in the mind to begin with,” says Biship.

While the New Testament has helped many Arabic speakers understand the Gospel, Bishop says the historical context was missing. “We believe it completes the ability of many ministries that are working throughout Arabic speaking culture to be able to have this tool. More people will find it easier to understand the difference between Islam and Christianity and be able to act on that.”

Funding is needed to help offset some of the costs of editing, type-setting and ultimately printing these new Bibles.

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