My kids and I have been learning how the Bible is translated into other languages. I am fascinated with the translation into a language called Abau, spoken by nearly 5,000 people who reside along a river in Papua New Guinea. There are not words in this language to express the phrase “Jesus loves me,” so it is translated as “I am in Jesus’ canoe.” What a special image that must be for the native speakers of Abau.
We also learned that the most understandable way for people in Kamasau, PNG to state in their language that they have accepted Jesus is to say that they have the same intestines with God.
When I was at an orphanage in Uganda a few years ago, I brought photos of snow to show the children. Psalm 51:7b says, “...wash me, and I will be whiter than snow,” yet most of these children will never see real snow in their lifetimes. What a difficult concept for many people throughout the world. What if the idea of being whiter than snow were explained in some places as being white as cotton, white as a cloud, or white like the inside of a coconut? Or perhaps the idea of being “white” is incomprehensible and the focus needs to be on being washed clean?
Amazing Grace Baptist church in Canton, N.C., is planning to have a book burning on Oct. 31. Pastor Marc Grizzard feels that translations of the Bible other than King James are “satanic” and “perversions” of God’s word. He also plans to burn books authored by Christian writers who did not use King James translations (I wonder why he is not pushing for exclusive use of the original Hebrew and Greek texts?).
Malachi 3:6 says, “I the LORD do not change.” Does a different wording of a concept change who God is? There would be a problem if something is left out or the meaning is altered, as in saying for example that John 1:1 could be: “In the beginning was ‘a’ word...” instead of “In the beginning was ‘the’ Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Because “the word” refers to Jesus, changing it to “a word” would be a huge deviation from the original intent.
Are we saved by grace from the Lord or by a certain translation of the Bible? Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I do not own a King James Bible, and yet I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. Whether I read a version of NIV, ESV, NLT or KJV, the true Word of God does the same thing. It penetrates my soul and judges the thoughts and attitudes of my heart. When I memorize scripture, the intent is to have it deeply embedded in my heart... hidden... treasured... stored up. However it is worded, it can’t happen if I am not reading it or hearing it.
Many Christians misrepresent what the Bible says about Jesus, and I don’t just mean Pastor Grizzard. Is that because many Christians aren’t reading the Bible often enough to be familiar with what it says? Is it enough to know the words if they aren’t lived out? When we understand who Jesus is and we live how He wants us to live, when we ride in His canoe and share His intestines, then maybe the world will get a better picture of what Christianity is really supposed to be.
Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.