“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). The apostle Paul tells us that God’s Word is not bound. “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). The writer of Hebrews expands on this: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Heb. 4:12a). We know this to be true because we see it in the Bible, we read about it in history, and we have experienced it in our own lives.
The story is told of an unsaved anthropologist who warned a jungle chief, “There are some people called missionaries, and they have a book called the Bible. Don’t allow them to come to your village! They will destroy your culture.” The chief smiled and said, “You are too late. They have already been here. And it is very good for you that they came, otherwise I would have already killed and eaten you!”
Light is on its way to the 121,000 Tenek Indians of the state of San Louis Potosí, Mexico. In 2006, Tenek speaker Fernando Angeles and his wife, Christy, began translating the New Testament under the direction of Bibles International, a division of Baptist Mid Missions. This formal equivalent received text translation was completed in 2017. These descendants of the great Mayan empire can now hear God speaking their language. At the conclusion of the Tenek New Testament dedication service where the Gospel was preached in English, Spanish, and Tenek, an elderly man told Christy, “I couldn’t understand a word of the Spanish, but I could understand every word of Tenek, and I have faith.” In the past, the Gospel has made little impact on the Tenek nation, but pray that will soon change. Pray for the distribution of the Scriptures and for Tenek-speaking laborers to preach them!
In 1973, Baptist missionaries Ron and Cheryl Myers went to Thailand. There was still a war raging in that area, and the Myers labored and mastered both the Thai and Isan languages with North Vietnamese and Laotian troops only six miles away on the opposite side of the Mekong River threating to invade. With strong convictions concerning the Scriptures and how they should be translated, they took on the responsibility of putting God’s Word into the Isan language of Thailand and Laos, spoken by over twenty million souls. The project was completed in June 2016 and published under the auspices of Bearing Precious Seed Global. There is much demand for these New Testaments, and they are bearing much fruit in both the free and communist countries. The Isan New Testament has also been recorded and is being broadcast by radio. Pray that the light of the Isan Scriptures will shine brightly and give much understanding to the Isan nation!
In 2005, BBTI graduates Dan and Jennifer Olachea were sent to Uganda, Africa, by the Central Baptist Church of Ocala, Florida, with the help of BIMI. They began working in Mbarara, Uganda, with the goal of giving the 3.4 million Runyankori people a formal, well-translated copy of God’s Word in their heart language. Dan helped to train six Runyankori native translators, and they labored eleven years with him to accomplish this great task. Work has begun on the Old Testament that will give even more light to the Runyankori people.
When the Word of God is presented to people in the official language or a trade language of their country, they may understand very little of it. Even if they comprehend much, it is always a foreign book. But when it is in their heart language, it has much more authority. They can hear God speaking their language! Friend, did God speak to your heart this morning as you read His Word? Why was that? Because you have a Bible in your heart language. There are still three thousand seven hundred language groups that have no portion of the Bible. That fact should bother us. No doubt it bothers our Saviour!
Yes, the Bible is a miracle Book; it can accomplish wonders. But we must realize that it does nothing where men do not take it. It has no feet or wings to magically carry itself to far off places. Neither does it mysteriously appear in languages where it never existed. God does not inspire a man to write scripture in his Bibleless tongue. God inspired it once; now it must be translated. That is just how it works. God’s people realized this in the first century and began translating the Bible. Down through the centuries since, men have faced the death penalty for giving the Bible to people in their heart language. This job may be easier today, but we can be sure that Satan will fiercely oppose it. May God give us men and women with the courage of John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples, Francisco de Enzinas, Casiodoro de Reina, and hundreds of others before and after them. The task today requires no less dedication than theirs.
Thank God for the many places where the light of His Word has entered, given understanding, and for some, even changed the course of history. “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matthew 4:16). But there are still billions of lost souls waiting in very dark places for the Light. We need Bible translators, Bible printers, Bible distributors, and Bible preachers. Pick up your Bible. Hold it and look at it. Now, ask yourself, “What am I doing right now to put this Book in the hands of one who sits in darkness with no Bible?”