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Posts Tagged ‘Judson’

Michael Grant, an adjunct stewardship representative for BI, edited three excerpts from the past, added his own introductory and concluding thoughts, and published A Bible for Every Hand and Heart (Xlibris, 2014) to encourage believers as to how we can get more involved in Bible translation. They are as follows:

  1. “The first encompasses all the spoken material of the service held in 1812 commissioning America’s first foreign missionaries, of which Adoniram Judson is the most well-known of the group.”
  2. “The second is a sermon preached in Salem, Massachusetts, by Benjamin Wadsworth in 1815.”
  3. “The third is a sermon delivered by Baron Stow in 1846 to the American and Foreign Bible Society on the occasion of its ninth anniversary.”

Grant did a good job of updating the 19th-century content so that it gives a “modern voice to the material so that it may speak again and be understood by our generation.” He chose these three excerpts for the following reasons:

  1. “Each conveys a deep-seated belief about all men.”
  2. “Each, very thankfully, proclaims the one and only cure for mankind’s guilt and condemnation before God.”
  3. “Each displays a bold, confident faith in the Bible–a faith believing God has authored a Book as eternal and powerful as He is.”
  4. “Each stresses the importance of declaring the Bible’s message to mankind worldwide.”
  5. “Each pinpoints language as an obstacle to this mission of spreading God’s Word worldwide.”
  6. “Each agrees that overcoming the language barrier is a non-negotiable and must be pursued at all costs, whether in personnel or personal resources.”
  7. “Each presents an urgent call to action–to make the Bible available to men in the language they understand best.”

The first excerpt, made up of various speeches given on the occasion, is an excellent reminder of all the reasons why we should be engaged in missions work. I particularly enjoyed Leonard Woods’ sermon to the new missionaries. He lays out the motivations that should move us to action. He writes,

He takes into  account their temporal comfort, and endeavours to promote it… But, when their spiritual interest is before him, when he contemplates the value of their souls and the prospect that the Gospel opens of immortal happiness in the world to come, his deepest inner compassions are moved; his most tender affections kindled, pure and heavenly love pervades and warms his soul. (p. 30)

He gives 7 motives that should move us to reach out to lost souls: “the worth of immortal souls, the plenteousness of the provision which Christ has made for their salvation, the express command of our Lord to preach the Gospel, the peculiar design of Christianity and its adaptability as a universal religion, the spirit of prophecy, and the operations of divine Providence at the present day.” (p. 48)

Samuel Spring’s charge is also moving, especially when he warns them:

Never, never preach the theory of the Gospel until you have presented the practice of the Gospel in your own godly example.

In the second historical excerpt of Grant’s book, Benjamin Wadsworth recommends the Bible as “a volume for the world.” After exalting the many excellencies of the Word, he concludes,

We therefore very justly consider the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God, an invaluable treasure–one of Heaven’s best gifts to men. (p. 76)

He then exhorts us to consider how blessed the world would be if they had the Bible in their hands. He writes,

We have therefore reason to conclude that the streams of widespread goodness will not cease to flow till all nations are blessed with the Word of His grace. (p. 80)

He appeals to us to try to help those without the Word by reminding us that the second greatest commandment should compel us, who “know the excellency of God’s Word and enjoy its consolations and hopes,” to help those who don’t enjoy these benefits. He points us to the fact that the Bible alone gives us knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, which leads us to eternal life, and this knowledge we possess lays upon us an obligation to impart it to the world.

The third excerpt is Baron Stow’s sermon “The Bible for the World,” and this portion of Grant’s book is probably my favorite. He begins by emphasizing how badly the world needs the Bible. He substantiates this point by asking us to consider how awful a condition our country would be in if we didn’t have the Bible. What a sobering thought to imagine!

Stow recommends the Bible as an authoritative standard of doctrine and practice, which is what mankind needs (p. 122). The Bible satisfies our desire to see into the future, and it speaks to our heart (pp. 122-124). Then he explains how the Bible is adapted to the world and designed for the world and concludes,

If, then, the Bible is needed by the world, if it is adapted to the world, if it is designed for the world, why, inquires the thoughtful hearer, has so large a portion of the world never seen it or even heard of its existence? (p. 127)

What a soul-searching question! Stow urges us to realize we are debtors to the world to take the Word to them.

The measure of our obligation is, of course, determined by our ability and by the resources that we have for the effective use of that ability. (p. 129)

Surely, the American church has sufficient ability and abundant resources!

No time is to be lost. The world needs the Bible! The world must have the Bible! Its populations are sinking annually in compacted millions by a starless way to a dreary eternity. Shall we whose souls are lighted by the Revelations of Heaven continue to deny to those wanderers the Lamp of Salvation? We are engaged in a great work and by nothing should we allow ourselves to be diverted from our straight onward path of duty. (p. 131)

Stow ends his sermon by highlighting the immense responsibilities of a translator but also the crucial importance of a preacher to go alongside the published translation, as well as the absolutely necessary work of the Spirit of God.

Grant ends his book with some final thoughts to encourage us to get involved in Bible translation:

  1. “Begin by personally acquainting yourself with the work of a Bible Society.” (He recommends BI as the one to seek out.)
  2. “Establish a friendship with some Bible translators.”
  3. “Consistently follow the progress of at least one Bible translation project while not losing sight of the broader existing work.”
  4. “Financially support the work and workers making the Bible available worldwide.”
  5. “Finally, but most importantly, support prayerfully the work and workers making the Bible available worldwide.”

Grant’s desire and prayer is that “all readers of this book will involve themselves in this endeavor at some level.” I say a hearty Amen to that! May it be so!

You can find out more about Mike Grant at www.treasuringtheword.org. On his webpage he describes his ministry in this way: “We maintain a rare Bible and book museum in Sevierville, Tennessee displaying in an interactive, chronological format the history of our English Bible. We are committed, in cooperation with Bibles International, to providing a conservative, “heart language” translation of the Scriptures for those people groups in need. We also provide Bible study tools to institutions and individuals who are training for the preaching/teaching ministry in underprivileged or mission-restricted countries. We revise and publish rare, out-of-print works relevant to the spiritual well-being of mankind.”

 

 

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Dear Family and Friends,

I was recently reminded of the long-term impact of Bible translation through the life of Adoniram Judson. He endured much hardship throughout his 35 years in Burma (now Myanmar), including a torturous imprisonment, the death of his first two wives, and the death of some of his children. However, he persevered and saw at least 100 converts join the Burmese church. But this result pales in comparison to the subsequent harvests of his Burmese Bible. As Burmese got saved, they gained an excitement for the gospel that propelled them to reach the various tribes in Burma, including ones for whom we at Bibles International are now translating the Bible 200 years later. In fact, the Bualkhaw people, who number around 5,000 speakers, trace their introduction to Christianity ultimately to the impact of Judson’s Bible. The entire tribe professes faith in Christ. Clearly, the Bualkhaw have a thirst for the Bible, because they have bought up all the New Testaments we produced for them in 2012, and they long for the Old Testament to be completed. Truly, you can never fully estimate the long-term impact of the translation of the Word of God into the heart language of the people!

ANNUAL EVENTS

Though the results of a Bible translation ministry are surely glorious, the work requires marathon-like perseverance in the daily grind. We continue to invest in resources and personnel to increase the quality and efficiency of our work. Each year in August we have our Consultant Seminar (see picture above) and BI Annual Meeting. This year we had around 26 prospective and current consultants for the seminar, which I am responsible for putting together. This time we invited Dr. Robert Bell from Bob Jones University to teach us more about various Old Testament issues.

We also shared best practices so we could learn from one another about how to do our work even better. I did a presentation on “Literacy in Biblical Times” and “Streamlining the Translation Process” as well. The latter presentation required that I do a significant amount of research on our past work to gain proper historical perspective on our current practices. I noticed that it takes us an average of 13 years to complete a New Testament and 17.5 years to complete the Old Testament. By God’s grace I hope to reduce those numbers to nine years and 15 years, respectively. Please PRAY with me that we would have the wisdom to know how to make our process more efficient.

For three days after the seminar, we met at a local retreat center for our Annual Meeting. It was another blessed time together of reporting, praying, worshipping, and playing together.

WRAPPING UP 2014

I spent five weeks after those two events reporting to churches and visiting non-supporting churches in Pennsylvania. I heard positive indications of new support from these new churches, and I saw a family take me on for monthly support. PRAISE the Lord for good meetings and answered prayer! PRAY for the remaining $300 per month to come in soon.

In late October I’ll be leading a checking workshop on the Tok Pisin New Testament in Papua New Guinea. Then at the end of November I’ll go to Haiti for a checking workshop on the Haitian Creole Old Testament in Haiti. PRAY for success in these workshops!

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On Saturday, I had the privilege to travel on America’s first transcontinental highway.  In PA it is Highway 30.  I stayed in Chambersburg over the weekend and had to travel to Butler, PA, for a Sunday of ministry.  I decided to take a day off on Saturday, so I took the more scenic route to get across the state, rather than taking the Turnpike.  Though I drive all the time, it was very relaxing to drive once again down the highway, but this time on the Lincoln Highway.  It took me over two mountain peaks and rarely had a straight or level section that was more than half a mile long.  As I traveled across, I stopped at Shawnee State Park to enjoy the beautiful fall day and spend some time with the Lord.  It was truly a refreshing experience!

As I sat at a table on the top of a hill overlooking a lake, I read some pages out of To the Golden Shore, a biography about Adoniram Judson.  I was struck by the great difficulties he faced as he tried to enter the closed country of Burma.  Though he considered going to a different country, what compelled him to stay the course was the fact that Burma, a land of 17 million souls at the time, had no Bible.  Courtney Anderson writes,

What caught his fancy as much as anything was the fact that the Bible had never been translated into Burmese….  There would have to be a Burmese Bible before Burma could become Christian.

Nancy shared the same sentiment.   Anderson describes her thoughts as follows:

They should at least attempt, with Felix Carey, a mission among ‘a people who have never heard the sound of the gospel, or read, in their own language, of the love of Christ.’

She expresses the true missionary spirit when she is quoted as saying,

… The poor Burmans are entirely destitute of those consolations and joys which constitute our happiness; and why should we be unwilling to part with a few fleeing, inconsiderable comforts, for the sake of making them sharers with us in joys exalted as heaven, durable as eternity!

Though I as a modern-day missionary experience only a small slice of the difficulties they faced, I pray that I will be able to share their sentiments as fully as they did. 

It’s been a privilege to share my ministry of Bible translation with the churches here in Pennsylvania.  I had a great day of ministry a week from yesterday, as I presented my ministry at Grace Baptist Church in Kittanning, PA.  Pastor Kaminski and his people were very responsive to what I presented.  Then on Monday of last week, I traveled east to Lebanon where I took part in a missions conference at First Baptist Church.  Pastor Mackey and his people treated all of us missionaries extremely well.  Yesterday I spoke at First Baptist Church in Distant and then at First Baptist in Butler.  Though I had a few logistical difficulties, the Lord helped me to present my ministry clearly. 

Now I’m “camping out” in Butler until I travel back across the state for another missions conference, but this time in Enola.  You may wonder why I didn’t schedule my meetings better so that I wouldn’t have to keep traveling back and forth across the state.  The short answer is… I did!  But when meetings get rearranged or postponed, the final product isn’t always as clean as it was during the planning stages.

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