10.Feb.2014

3) Speaking a new ministerial language isn’t that hard if you know what your message is and to whom it is that you’re speaking.

Helping non-churched individuals with the Gospel means that it honestly behooves us to learn and understand what words they are using, how they are using it, and what words/concepts that we use that are most like theirs.  Just like being a missionary!

For example, Wycliffe Bible Translators – whose goal is to get the whole Bible translated into every known language by 2025 – has not too long ago finished translating the New Testament into Hawaiian Pidgin.  This Pidgin English sounds like a form of American inner-city Urbonics mixed in with an air of an older tongue.

 

Da Jesus Book: the New Testament translated in Hawaiian Pidgin

Da Jesus Book: the New Testament translated in Hawaiian Pidgin

 

Citizens of this culture cannot know what a lamb is, or what some English terms like “lord,” “witness” or “abide” mean.  So instead of “Lord” the translators chose simpler, more culturally relevant words like “Boss;” instead of “witness,” they chose “tell wat you know bout someting;” and instead of “abide with Christ” they went with, “stay tight wit Christ.”

And this wasn’t to be rude or irreverent; it was to help them understand.  And if we get over our self-righteous, pseudo-religious selves and actually preach and communicate God’s love to a generation in words that they can understand, then I believe that we will witness more people coming into the Kingdom like never before.  And I honestly do mean that!

Finally, sometimes in the face of trying to “translate” the Gospel into better-to-understand terms and lingo, we discover some valuable aspects of our own faith for the very first time.  Chew on the Word.  Do your Scripture study, get a dictionary out, and look up some synonyms.  Listen to your surrounding culture; and pray how to discern it.

 

– Stephen Ross