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A Labor of Love...and Accuracy

Jill Goring helps missionaries complete the painstaking task of translating God’s Word.

Fifteen years is a long time to work on any project. But, if you’re translating Scripture into previously unknown languages, it’s a small price to pay for enabling people to read and understand God’s Word.

Jill and Larry Goring spent 15 years with the Gerai people in the Asia-Pacific region, learning their culture, mastering their language, developing a written language, and translating the entire New Testament and major portions of the Old. This experience led them into translation work on a worldwide scale. ‘That Book is the Life of the Gerai church,’ commented Jill recently. ‘And our solid NTM training and consultant help were so key in that process.’

Today Jill serves as translation and consultant coordinator for NTM, while Larry is coordinator of international field ministries. Together, they are passionate about the work of translation: making God’s Word available—and understandable—to tribal peoples in their own language.

According to Jill, “We all love the promise that ‘God’s Word will not return to Him void’. But we also know that that doesn’t just happen out of context. A Chinese Bible doesn’t communicate to someone who doesn’t speak Chinese.”

“The Gospel of John says wrote that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory,’ in that order. That’s at the heart of the translator’s task: the long, hard work of the written Word taking on the ‘flesh’ of the local language and dwelling in the hearts of the hearers. That’s the path to seeing the glory of Jesus. No shortcuts!”

Translating God’s Word faithfully and clearly is a high priority and commitment for NTM translators around the world. Jill’s work is to ensure that translators “get it right,” helping them develop the complex skill set needed for one of the most challenging jobs in the world.

“When an NTM church planting team moves into a community, we want to ensure that Old Testament portions and a complete New Testament are translated faithfully, clearly, accurately and naturally,” she explains. “By ‘faithfully’, we mean that the translation will be true to the meaning of the original-language Scripture texts. ‘Clearly’ means that translations must communicate well to the people for whom they are intended, reflecting God’s nature as a clear and loving Communicator.”

To Jill, accuracy means working to match not just the details, but the whole meaning contained in each piece of text, as much as is humanly possible across linguistic barriers. Finally, translators strive to use all the rich patterns of a local language to ensure the result communicates well within the context of the culture.

Contextualization of Scripture is a huge issue. And the best contextualization is grounded in the clarity and truth of the original Message.

We demonstrate our claim that God earnestly desires to communicate with people when we do the difficult work of Bible translation. God’s Word in the hands and hearts and minds of growing believers: that’s the Anchor for the soul of the Church.”
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“People need to ‘hear’ first what the apostle Paul said to the Philippians, or his instructions to Timothy, for example,” observes Jill. “These simple truths understood well are the context of the tribal church’s growth to maturity.”

The Word of God translated into the vernacular of the people is the visual evidence of the truths that are shared by missionaries from the very beginning of their work among a people group. Says Jill Goring: “We demonstrate our claim that God earnestly desires to communicate with people when we do the difficult work of Bible translation. God’s Word in the hands and hearts and minds of growing believers: that’s the Anchor for the soul of the Church.”

You Can Help Make More Translations Possible

The years of painstaking work that goes into tribal language Bible translations makes these projects very costly. A single language translation can require $250,000 or more from start to finish! If you would like to help bring God’s Word to unreached peoples, please consider giving an online gift toward a translation project.

POSTED ON Oct 01, 2012

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