It has been a joy seeing the hand of God working these past fifteen years since the beginning of BPSG/Global Bible Translators. We knew from the very beginning that Satan’s hatred for the Bible would try to cause great harm to those translating these life changing words. Bible translation is a daunting task that takes a special call from God and dedication to finish the task. We have seen great victories amid tremendous trials. These fearless servants have been faced with the pandemic, divisions, immorality, finances, sickness, and governments, but God has manifested himself by his protection and guidance through the process. What a joy it is to make His Word available to the people around the world in their mother tongue.
Daily prayer is needed for the translators that God would protect and use them in this mighty work. Decisions must be made on choosing the right word and keeping unity between the translation team. When prayer is a priority, we find that they are on the right tract and God reveals to them the answers they have been searching for. Our team is always ready to help with difficult passages and word choices. The use of zoom calls has been most effective during these times.
Please continue to pray for the dedication service of the new translation of the John and Romans in Swahili for Kenya and neighboring countries set for January 22, 2023. There is much to prepare for the success of such an event. These bi-lingual English/Swahili Scriptures will be a great blessing to the missionary outreach of Africa. Also, the conference will bring light to many missionaries and national pastors about this new translation of God’s Word. I have received word that they have already started on the NT.
Dear Praying Friends:
It would be wonderful just to report the good news, but we are in a battle and sadly to say there are casualties. One of the projects in Africa lost a couple team members over immorality. Some Bible translators experience discouragement while others have succumb to sinful temptations which disqualifies them from the project. Bible translation demands dedication and holy lives. His preparation spiritually, physically, emotionally, and scholarly must take priority in his life. He will be challenged by trials and temptation and at times discouragement by others. Satan will do all he can to impede this most important task.
Malayalam Bible Translation Started: It is with great excitement that we announce that a new translation project has begun. We met with the translators of the Malayalam Bible of Southwest India, through zoom recently and discussed the beginning process. My heart was overwhelmed with joy to see their desire and dedication to God. In this first meeting we discussed how to set up their team and which book to start with. I’m sure that in our next zoom meeting there will be many questions which will allow us to further their abilities as translators. This calling from God is a daunting task but he will enable them through their faith and sacrifice. Please pray for them!
Trip to Kenya: We have just received news that Kenya is experiencing another partial lock down with a third wave of the Covid 19 virus. There is a five country radius that has been declared a disease disaster zone. We are praying that things will clear up for the translation conference in July of this year. Our hope and prayers are that the doors will be open for brother Taylor of South Korea, to be able to leave that country and then fly back. I suppose if we had no obstacles we would not have to trust God as much. Oh may our faith increase and when we lack faith may we say to God please Lord, …”help thou mine unbelief.”
A NEW YEARS MESSAGE FROM GLOBAL BIBLE TRANSLATORS:
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. In spite of difficulties and disappointments, God is still in control, He is at work, and He is blessing. We trust His will and guidance. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11).
Regardless, 2020 has also seen some definite progress in the Bible translation ministry. In addition to starting new translation projects, we have been building a solid foundation for the future continuance of this ministry. Dr. Zeinner has given overall direction to the ministry and has done much to inform and mobilize the churches. Dr. Combs’ ministry has been primarily in the more technical details of education and translation work. Both sides of this work must continue and expand. We pray that God will raise up leadership that can lead the next generation. We are establishing a solid foundation that future generations can build on. We have designed and built the launch pad and are finishing the rocket. The future must see it sent into orbit.
Two new translation projects have been initiated this year. The first is a new start to an old project. A new Swahili (East Africa) translation was started by Alan Lear many years ago. Dr. Zeinner was involved with him in that project. Brother Lear translated John and Romans. However, brother Lear died about a decade ago and there was no one else to continue the project. Now we are working with missionary Robert Mickey, Jr. to continue the translation. The second project is centered in the Malayalam language of India. Not long ago, we had a meeting with an Indian pastor. We challenged him to examine the Malayalam Bible he was using according to a checklist we have on our web site. He and his Indian friends discovered there are many errors in that translation. We had a Zoom meeting with him and several other pastors in India and they determined to begin a new translation. After that, I sent this Brother a set of translation principles and recommendations, tailored to his situation, on how to organize and begin a project. They have begun to create and organized their team. They also are in contact with some believers who speak languages that do not have a Bible. Next year, I hope we can travel to both Africa and India to provide further training and guidance.
Other projects in German, Ewe in Togo, Mandarin in China, Isan in Thailand, Telugu in India, and Guarani in Paraguay are continuing.
Pray for us that God will grant health, continuance and blessing on the work that has been started, and new open doors.
Lately, my Bible study often involves an indepth analysis of the most common words. For example, the word "should." Take a look at my article about "should" in the translator's resources. Today, I looked at the word "both" in Acts 1:8.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
I was having trouble with the word, because its use seems contrary to "both" the definition of the word and English grammar. The word itself is defined as a connective word that connects two separate things. This is its definition in "both" the Webster 1828 dictionary and a modern dictionary. The Greek word is τε. It is defined as a connective word similar to "and." English grammar demands that the word "both" connect only two items, not three or four.
The problem is that in Acts 1:8, the word "both" seems to connect four different items: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. If that it true, it seems that "both" is misued here. The New King James translators seemed to have a similar issue, because they simply did not translate τε and left out the word "both." The KJV translators knew Greek thoroughly and they deliberately translated the Greek word this way. So, why is the word "both" there?
I always saw Acts 1:8 to be a picture of God's plan for the progress of the gospel. I still see it that way, but it is more than that. It is "both" a plan for the progress of the gospel around the world and a plan for the mission program of each and every local church. I only partially realized that until I looked at the commas. Each item is separated by "both" commas as well as the word "and." This is correct according to English grammar in 1611, but not now. Current grammar says that if you have a list where the items are separated by "and," you need not insert commas. So, I took the commas out and it hit me. I'm not saying the commas should not be there in the KJV. I am simply saying that this is what made me personally understand the teaching of Acts 1:8 better.
The word "both" is there, because Acts 1:8 lays before us, not only four increasing expansions of the gospel, but also two categories of evangelism, to which every church should be comitted and involved. The first category is Jerusalem and Judea, the center of the Jewish homeland. The second category is Samaria and the uttermost, which were non-Jewish lands. In other words, it refers to both home and foreign missions. This is the plan for every church. We should be involved in evangelism in "both" our own land and the lands of others. We should be witnessing "both" at home and abroad at the same time. Our missions program should include "both" church planting in our homeland and in foreign lands. Our mission program may have foreign missions, but it is not complete unelss we are involved in and supporting home missions also.
God has been good to us and blessed us very much in 2019. There have been overseas trips by members of the staff to Korea, Singapore, Togo, and Paraguay. A new translation project has been strongly underway in Paraguay, South America and we have been there to train the translators. Dr. Zeinner and Dr. Taylor has visited Singapore to meet, Jeffrey, a new translator recruit. Jeffrey is a Chinese man living in Malaysia and working in Singapore. I have spent considerable time helping teach him on Skype. The Lord has allowed us to ship thousands of newly translated John-Romans overseas. We have also published a new training book, A Practical Theology of Bible Translating. By God’s grace, before the end of the year, we will have published the Greek New Testament and A Parallel Greek TR-English KJV New Testament. These will be valuable to help translators in their work. I would like to invite all of you to look at the videos on the Global Bible Translators Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/globalbibletranslators.
Guarani Translation in Paraguay
We have received $1500 of the $20,000 need to print a bilingual Spanish-Guarani John/Romans Booklet for Paraguay. Please pray with us that the remainder will come in and pray for the ongoing effort of the translators. The believers there are working on a plan to plant churches throughout the country among the Guarani people. They need this translation for that effort.
Chinese, Telegu, and Ewe
Please also pray for these ongoing translation efforts and for the translators. Pray that we will be able to soon print and distribute the Telegu whole Bible and the Chinese John/Romans. It is our desire to accomplish this in 2020.
The Book of Redemption
Pray that God will enable us to publish the Spanish, French, and German versions of the Book of Redemption in 2020 and to revise the published English version. The German is currently being translated. Please pray for that effort.
May God bless you all and grant you a wonderful Christmas and a fruitful new year.
Please pray for another project that we are working on in our ministry here in Paraguay, South America. In our Bible Institute, we have decided to translate the word of God into what is known as the Guarani language.
For example, I served in Puerto Rico as a missionary for several years. Their ancient language is the Taino language of the Taino Indians. However, Puerto Ricans did not preserve the Taino language, so the language is pretty much extinct as most Puerto Ricans from the island are more focused on learning English if they do seek to learn a second language. Their first language of course is Spanish.
In Paraguay, all Paraguayans speak both languages - Spanish and Guarani. As you go deeper into the interior of Paraguay, you'll find that most folks in the country speak Guarani more than Spanish. Some speak exclusively in Guarani although they may know a good bit of Spanish. Many in the interior are much more comfortable in Guarani than in Spanish.
Therefore, we have determined that it would be wise to have God's precious words available in the language that many Paraguayans in the interior of the country are more comfortable in.
We are right now in the process of planting 2 brand new churches in the interior. In these areas, our students do most of their preaching and evangelism in Guarani and that has proven to be very effective in reaching souls for Christ in the interior. Imagine how beneficial it would be to these churches, and future churches we plan to plant, to have God's words in the language that most speak in more than Spanish in the interior of the country.
So our goal is to have God's words faithfully translated in a Bible that will be equivalent to our King James Bible in English and fully based upon the Received Texts.
I never dreamed that as a Missionary I'd be involved in Bible translation. The Lord never ceases to surprise me with the open doors He presents as we serve Him. Please pray for me as I strive to learn now a third language. My role right now in this project is as an organizer and coordinator in addition to teaching our students basic translating principles from my years of experience as a collaborator in the revision of the Spanish Bible (Reina Valera Gomez). The students have been working hard on this translation.
And for those who might be wondering, yes I believe the King James Bible is the infallible, inerrant, and perfect word of God in English. Always have and always will (unless I go senile one day, lol). So this should give you an idea of what we're aiming for in the translating of God's word in Guarani. We want a Bible in Guarani in which we can have just as much confidence as we do in our beloved KJV. We believe that with God all things are possible.
Please pray for this project and we'll keep you updated as things progress.
January 20, 2019
Dear Praying Friends,
Successful Trip to Paraguay, South America: My trip to Paraguay was long and tiring but the joy of preaching and making new friends soon overshadowed all other discomforts. Their enthusiasm to learn the process of a new Bible translation in the Guarani language made it easy to challenge and teach them. They had many questions but our experience with other languages and countries allowed me to give them the confidence needed to press forward. We set up a time in August, 2019 when we would return to review some of their work. Please add them to your prayer list as they will be in great need of your prayers..
Telugu Bible for India…I was able to fly to Dallas to meet with missionary Rufus Saripalli and his pastor recently. We discussed the printing and distribution of the Telugu Bible in India and will start to secure prices from several Indian companies for the best price and quality. Over 100 million people speak this language. A dedication service will be held early 2020.
Ewe/French John & Romans and French whole Bibles for Togo, West Africa Finished: Soon these Bibles will be shipped to Togo, please pray for a safe arrival and their distribution. The translators continue to translate the rest of the New Testament.
The job of a Bible translator or interpreter is fraught with dangers. It’s actually easy when there is a textual difference between a Greek text or an English Bible, and that text or version is one that you do not trust. When that difference is in a text you do trust and different translations all fit the definitions of the word, it is more difficult. For example, suppose that in a particular verse the KJV contains a certain word and another version or a foreign translation from the Received text uses a different word. Many of us would simply choose the KJV word. But, how do we answer a critic when both translated words came from the same Greek word in the Received text and both translations are technically equally valid? This happens often in the New Testament. Many Greek words, like words in any language, have more than one meaning. This is called Polysemy, the principle that words have multiple meanings. But, as a translator, how are you to choose between the meanings?
This problem is found many times in the New Testament. One very prominent example is found in John 5:24.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
This seems to be a straight forward and clear verse. It is in perfect accord with the teachings about salvation in the entire Bible. However, there is an issue with the word condemnation. Of course there is a problem in the modern English versions, you say. However, the problem is not just that the New King James and other English version translate the Greek word Krisis as judgment, rather than condemnation, but early Received Text Bibles also translated it that way. The Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops, and Geneva translations all use the words condemnation or damnation. One the other hand, the 1744 French Ostervald Bible says “judgment” (as available on e-sword.net; the 2018 Revision by Pastor Mario Monette says “condemnation”). The 1545 Martin Luther German translation uses the word Gericht, which means “court or judgment.” J. P. Green’s so-called “literal” translation says “judgment.” Even the King James has a difference in how it translates krisis. In John 5:29, the KJV translates krisis as “judgment.” Then, the word is again used in verse 30 and translated “damnation.”
How are you to know which is correct? Once again, some of you would point to the way the KJV does it and say the KJV is right. I also agree the KJV translated this word correctly. But, how are you to explain it? How would you explain the difference in how the KJV translated this word to a young or ignorant Christian? How do you know which is right?
It’s easier than you think. But, many miss it.
First, the Greek word, krisis, is an example of polysemy. It has multiple meanings which depend on the context. According to the Complete Word Study Dictionary, the word means both “the act of judging” and “sentence pronounced.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says it “primarily denotes ‘a separating,’ then, ‘a decision’ ”. Thayer’s Greek Definitions tells us the word means a “trial or contest” and an “opinion or decision.” So, it has more than one meaning. It means the process of examining someone (judgment) and the sentence or decision made after the examination (either condemnation or acquittal}. Therefore, on the bare surface, both translations are technically correct.
So, how are we to choose between the definitions? Many words have multiple meanings. The only way to choose which definition applies in a given place in a document depends on context. In the Bible, that contextual information may come from the verse in which we find the word or it may come from the nearby verses or even other chapters in the same book. It may even be found in other books.
The context of John 5:24 and the word krisis is an example of the last one and it depends on a correct understanding of the verse itself.
The subject of John 5:24 is eternal life and how one obtains it. Salvation depends on 1) hearing the word and 2) believing it. By doing this you ensure your eternal safety. The view of this verse is eternity. So, the result of believing is 1) you have eternal life right now and 2) you will never be condemned. That is the teaching of the verse as it stands in the KJV. However, the translations that use “judgment” do not guarantee a freedom from condemnation. They guarantee freedom from judgment.
You may say, isn’t freedom from judgment the same as freedom from condemnation? It is not the same; however, freedom from judgment may result in freedom from condemnation. That is not the problem. The real difficulty is that the statement, “you shall never come into judgment,” is not true. In fact, it is a flat out lie. Moreover, it sets up a contradiction in Scripture. The greater Scriptural context contradicts the idea that you, as a believer, will never come into judgment. The Scriptures declare, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10). This takes place in heaven after this life is over. Also, we are judged in this life. “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32). Further, we are to judge ourselves. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31). To say that a believer will never come into judgment is simply not true. It is true that a believer will never come into condemnation. So the right definition of krisis to use in John 5:24 is “the sentence” of condemnation.
The context of krisis in John 5:29, is different. That verse is talking about the one who has the authority to judge all people, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The conclusion is simple. The translation of krisis in the KJV is correct. It fits the truth of salvation taught throughout the New Testament and it is true to the future of the Christian. Every translator should be extremely careful in his examination of the words he translates.
Trip to Ecuador: It was a most rewarding trip to Ecuador to preach for Pastor, Missionary Arian Molina (Cuban national working in Ecuador). I held a marriage conference and then preached high in the Andes (11,400 feet) to students of the Bible Institute. Pastor Cesar of that church decided to include the whole congregation in these special classes and their response to the teaching was rewarding. The choir sung in Spanish and Quichua, what a blessing! While in Ecuador we had 5 that were saved, one of those saved was a Cuban doctor that is going to defect to Ecuador. My heart longs for the day that King Jesus will rule and reign upon this earth…so much injustice today, but one day the true Judge will reign!
Trip to South America: Soon I will make a trip to Paraguay, to meet with pastors and those concerned about a new translation in the Guarani language. My trip will consist of meeting these pastors and churches and challenge, encourage and assist them in the process of starting a new translation. If they are in agreement early 2019 we will hold a translation conference. Please pray with us about this needed project.
Prayer Request: Chinese translation…Printing and shipping of the Ewe translation of Togo, West Africa…Distribution of Isan NT for Thailand...Arabic Bibles for refugees...Translation progress of the Telugu whole Bible for India…Deaf Bible completion…Paraguay and India trips…Pray that God gives me strength and health to carry on this worthy task.
Thank you for standing with us. Our love and prayers are with all of you.
Ewe John and Romans: The review process for John and Romans in Ewe by the translation team in Togo and the graphics designer is finished. The files for the booklet and the cover have been submitted to the printer. This has been a laborious process and involves far more than you may think. Here are the steps we have been through:
1) First, we and the Togolese had to see the need and get a vision for the translation.
2) We held a Bible translation conference to stir up the leaders to do to this work, wherein several committed themselves to be involved.
3) The translation team had to be assembled and organized. This took some time.
4) Then, the 15 member translation team did the translation of John and Romans over a period of a year or so.
5) We returned to Togo to help the team begin the process of reviewing, checking, and editing.
6) The team finished the review over the next several months.
7) Next came the typing and formatting of the translation for printing.
8) The funds for printing had to be raised.
9) Finally, we are anticipating the culmination of all this work in the printing starting in August.
10) Lastly, we will ship the books and they will be distributed in Togo.
11) And, the translation work will proceed.
There has been a lot of long distance work going on to bring this to pass. There has been a lot of work to raise the funds necessary and to coordinate the project. There has been a lot of communication between ourselves and the Pastor and graphic artist at South Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church in Quebec, Canada and the team in Togo and the printer in Cincinnati. There is a great deal left to do as you can see since numbers 9-11 above are still in process. Just this morning, I had to work with the printer and the graphic artist to get adjustments made to the cover. Please pray for us and everyone involved that God will bring it all to a successful conclusion and that He will use the John and Romans booklets to bring many thousands to Christ. I expect that about 200,000 French-Ewe John-Romans booklets will be printed along with about 2500 whole French Bibles of the latest revision of the Ostervald French Version.