The Multilingual God

Stories of Translation
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Description

Some decades ago the prospect of reaching the entire world with the gospel appeared very dim indeed. In a world population that was virtually exploding with growth, how could Christians begin to reach the billions of fellow humans? Then missionaries began mastering the multiplied languages on earth, placing the Bible on paper, making recordings of the gospel, and beaming the Word of God out on radio and television waves. A portion of the Bible was translated painstakingly into over a thousand languages. The entire Bible was translated into several hundred. There was reason to be hopeful. Missionaries taught nationals how to plant churches. Then nationals started planting churches, and churches begat churches . . . Bible translators had and continue to play a crucial role in the mission of reaching every people with the gospel, and this book describes how. Follow them into the fascinating, exciting world of Bible translation.

  • ISBN: 9780878084685
  • Pages: 224
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: William Carey Library

Endorsements

This book richly demonstrates how Bible translators wrestle to satisfy two priorities: staying true to the meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, and expressing that meaning clearly to speakers of amazingly diverse languages. It highlights a simple, yet profound truth: understanding God’s Word is key to knowing Him. While giving tribute to generations of Western translators, it also touches on the changing nature of the translation process, with mother tongue translators assuming more responsibility and multicultural teams working together to quicken the pace and quality of Bible translation.

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Bible translators are some of God’s favorite “hidden heroes.” What could please God more than to see his Word made available to people of every tribe and tongue? This great book will give you new insights into how this work is done and increase your respect for Bible translators everywhere. In the grand scheme of fulfilling the Great Commission, I thank God for this book that elevates the work of Bible translation as a critical component that we often overlook.

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Steve Fortosis has done an impressive job of dealing with Bible translation for lay people. This is a book that reminds me of some of Eugene Nida’s popular works. This puts Fortosis into elite company. Bible translators are often the unsung heroes of missionary work and deserve to be highlighted more often as Fortosis has done here. I hope this book will be widely distributed and used to popularize the work of these heroes of the faith.
 

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This well-researched book will open your eyes to the scary and exciting task of Bible translation. And (hopefully), it might even make you get more involved! I remember two Bible translators working with the Uduk tribe in the Sudan telling me how hard it was to translate Jesus’ words “let not your heart be troubled” since the Uduk language did not have a specific word for “heart” or “trouble.” Their final translation of those words was as follows: “Don’t have a shiver in your liver.” This humorous example underlines the extremely difficult task of accurate Bible translation. This book opened my eyes even more to the challenges and joys of getting the Bible into the heart language of every ethno-linguistic group on earth.
 

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This book describes multitudes of examples in which Bible translators were able to take Scripture and render it in other languages so that any culture imaginable may clearly understand biblical truth. It is written on a level that both laypeople and experts could appreciate.
 

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There has not been a book for the general Christian public for thirty years or more describing the aspects of the Bible translation task, the fun bits about language, and the snags in translating God’s Word into totally unrelated languages. This book hopes to fill that niche and also be of help to translators today in sharing the story of their work with supporters.
 

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This book takes us behind the curtains and shows us how the amazing story of translating Scriptures has been unfolding. You will be thrilled, encouraged, yes, and even shocked to see what occurs when ordinary men and women engage in this extraordinary task. Fortosis has surveyed this world-wide task showing us the literary, linguistic, and theological complexities of trying to accomplish this task accurately and dynamically.
Translators must find the right words in the receptor language for words and concepts such as God, Holy Spirit, baptism, salvation, forgiveness, love, faith, and hope. Fortosis shows that occasionally these well-intentioned translators inadvertently present to the hearers a foreign Jesus or a religion that horrifies the people. This task, translators discover, is not clean and simple, but rather messy and complex. The translators must incarnate themselves in the language and culture of the people. Otherwise the translations may distort the message, confuse the people, and lead to heterodox rather than orthodox views of God.
 

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Table of Contents

Chapter One: Great Cost; Greater Reward
Chapter Two: Tones, Clicks, and Fricatives
Chapter Three: Matching Scripture with Culture
Chapter Four: The Search for God in Every Culture
Chapter Five: God Picketing Peg for the Soul
Chapter Six: Family Affairs
Chapter Seven: And the Father said Supo
Chapter Eight: The Road of the Quiet Heart
Chapter Nine: Kingdom Talk
Chapter Ten: Heart, Liver, or Intestines?
Chapter Eleven: Being Strong on God
Chapter Twelve: Hold the Ear and Give a Good Stomach
Chapter Thirteen: Satan, Evil Spirits, and Headless Turkeys
Chapter Fourteen: For Clarity’s Sake
Chapter Fifteen: Hard Sayings
Chapter Sixteen: Translators Laugh (at themselves) Too
Chapter Seventeen: The Nuts and the Bolts

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