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Archive for June, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Recently I began reading Eustace Carey’s Memoir of William Carey. In the first chapter, Eustace uses one of Carey’s letters to explain the work of grace in Carey’s life at conversion and beyond. Writing as a 42-year-old man (only a year older than I), Carey spoke transparently of his desperate need for God’s grace: “I see that there is no temptation but would be sufficient to destroy me, if God did not interfere; and that I as much need pardon, and divine influence to support me, and maintain the work in my heart, as I formerly did to convert me. If I ever get to heaven, it must be owing to divine grace, from first to last.” If such a great missionary depended so strongly on God’s grace, how much more must I need it! Thank you for your prayers; please continue to pray for me!

LINGUISTICS AT MARANATHA

Much of April and May were spent either preparing to teach or actually teaching the second part of a course in Basic Linguistics at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. The two weeks of teaching were quite demanding, but the Lord helped me through. I had only nine students this year instead of the 21 I had last year, so that helped ease the burden of grading. But I had the extra stress of having the course video-recorded, so that future students can make it fit into their schedule a little more easily. I’m preparing the course to “stand alone”—i.e., so a non-linguistics person could grade the student work without the need for technical training. Once this video part of the course is complete, I’ll need to return only every other year to Maranatha to teach the first half of the course.

I’m thankful that teaching the course has already resulted in attracting students to BI. One of my Maranatha students just completed his in-office portion of an internship and is now in India along with two other interns. (I spent the second half of May overseeing the three of them at the office.) A second student of mine from Maranatha is seriously considering doing an internship in the summer of 2014. PRAISE God for how He’s answering prayers in this way! PRAY for God to continue to send more laborers. Two consultants and two managers are joining the team this year, and a third consultant is returning from Korea to begin full-time work with us, having been granted the necessary visa. PRAISE God!

THE SECOND HALF OF 2013

Once I complete two weeks of vacation at the end of June (one week doing home projects and one week on an actual vacation), I’ll really have to gear up for a busy schedule. In July I’ll be teaching a session on “missionary linguistics” to my fellow BMM missionaries at the annual conference. Then I’ll be reporting to churches in WV, PA, and NY, with my oldest niece’s wedding in SC thrown into the mix. In August I will lead the annual consultant seminar once again. During the seminar, we hope to complete a manual to train translators how to analyze their language linguistically. The seminar will touch on many other topics as well.

In September I’ll be doing a two-week workshop in Chad and then another two-week workshop in Benin. In Benin, we hope to finish preparations to print ten Old Testament books in Dendi by the end of the year.

The final quarter of the year will include a conference in TX, another one in SC, a workshop in Papua New Guinea, and a workshop in Haiti. I will surely need your PRAYERS to keep up with such a busy schedule! PRAY that I would have adequate time to prepare for each ministry opportunity and make use of all of them.

For the Cause of Christ,

Troy

 

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In preparation for BJU’s Missions Emphasis Week in October, I began reading Eustace Carey’s Memoir of William Carey, since the week will draw from Carey’s life for inspiration. As I read the first chapter, I was struck by his confessions as a 42-year-old man. His comments were striking to me partly because he was writing at about the same stage in life as me (I am now 41) and partly because of the candor with which he wrote. One would think that such a great missionary figure—the “Father of Modern Missions”—would surely be living a life of constant victory over sin. If that is your expectation, you would be shocked to read:

If I am a converted person, of which I have great reason to doubt, I must say that it is entirely by the grace of God, and in full opposition to the natural bias of my mind.

A little later he details some of his “besetting sins” (I am using the phrase from Hebrews 12:1) and concludes, “This makes me peculiarly unfit for the ministry, and much more so for the office of a missionary.”

How often I have felt the same sentiment! What a spiritual battle we missionaries have to fight as we constantly battle against our sinful tendencies, sometimes (or oft times) lose in the battle, and then hear Satan’s strong accusations of how unfit we are to be missionaries! The battle is relentless and sometimes quite fierce.

In a later paragraph, Carey continues:

The proofs I have of the evil tendency of my heart, and my frequent and often reiterated falls into sin, convince me that I need the constant influence of the Holy Spirit; and that, if God did not continue his loving-kindness to me, I should as certainly depart from Him, and become an open profligate, as I exist.

It’s actually encouraging to hear a “great missionary” make such confessions, because it helps me to know that even the great ones had similar struggles as I engage in now. You may not read these words from Carey in other biographies, but I appreciate how Eustace has preserved them for us (even at Carey’s insistence that he not publish them). Even if Carey did not want such candid comments published, he himself made similar sentiments quite public by what he had written on his own tombstone: “A wretched poor and helpless worm, On thy kind arms I fall.” Ever since I first saw this tombstone in Serampore in 2010, I have been encouraged by Carey’s humility. And now I have a biography by his nephew with the same sentiments to encourage me even more.

Please don’t stop praying for missionaries, thinking that they are so spiritual that they don’t need pray for personal holiness. Such couldn’t be farther from the truth!

I’ll be taking two weeks of vacation beginning on Monday, so I may not post anything more on my blog until the beginning of July.

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I read an article recently in which the author hinted at the fact that we should probably have suspicions about the textual basis for the OT. In other words, he was hinting at stirring up the same type of trouble that is attached to the NT text. Of course, I was bothered that a Christian man would even want to raise suspicion about s0mething that we have basically been in agreement about all this time. Don’t people have better things to do with their time than stir up trouble? It may be that he is sowing this thought because a particular controversial figure in Christendom had already planted that seed in his mind when this controversial figure asserted that there are 20,000 to 30,000 differences between the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia text (the OT textual basis of all English translations since the KJV) and the Bomberg text (the textual basis of the KJV). When a consultant of ours confronted this man about this statement, he admitted that the differences weren’t actually in the Hebrew text, but were only in the textual apparatus (i.e., the notes on the bottom of the page). This man thought that maybe a few had made it into the text, but upon further examination realized that none had. He said he didn’t intend to communicate that the differences weren’t actually in the text, but was he really so innocent in his motives to think that people wouldn’t infer that from his statement? I guess we need to be charitable to this man, but it’s hard to do so when he’s made other egregious statements in an effort to stir up trouble.

Anyway, are there truly differences between the BHS text (the ben Asher text) and the Bomberg text (the ben Chayyim text). One of our consultants did a study on this a while ago, and he narrowed the differences down to only 29 that could make any translatable difference. I just worked through the 29 differences yesterday. And as I examine the two texts, I would say we should go with the Bomberg text for 8, with the BHS text for 11, and with either text for the remaining 10, since the differences don’t actually show up in English. Of the 19 where there is a split decision, only 6 make any difference, usually because the other reading makes no sense. But as I examined these 6 places, I found that the KJV also made the same decision that I would recommend. So there you have it. There are only 29 places in which we could possibly be concerned, and there are only 6 in which we could make a different choice that actually mattered, and the KJV went with the better reading in all 6 cases! And it’s interesting to note that even the KJV didn’t always go with the Bomberg text. Of course, they didn’t technically go with the BHS text either, because it wasn’t around in 1611!

So, if anyone tells you that we should have concerns about the OT text basis of our English Bibles, tell them that maybe they should argue about what’s for dinner instead of wasting their time arguing about OT texts!

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