Wycliffe Associates Says an Important Part of Translating Scripture is Listening

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

Wycliffe Associates is a veteran in Bible translation ministry with over 50 years of experience. One thing the organization has learned is that in order to be a good Bible translator and printer, you must be a good listener.

Bruce Smith with Wycliffe Associates says a significant part of their Scripture distribution process requires listening to local Church partners to understand the unique obstacles they face and how to address them.

“For example, we had a design for an online tool for Bible translation. They said, ‘Look, it’s got to be offline.’ So that helped us adjust in that direction.”

Also, Smith says, “We talked about their needs for printing. Most historically, printing has always been done internationally, shipped through customs and all that kind of stuff. They said, ‘Look, we can’t do all that. We’re going to have to be able to print it locally.’ So we created our Print On Demand strategy.

“We have just maintained a posture that said they know best what their local situation is, and the best thing we can do is listen and respond to those unique demands and challenges that they’re trying to overcome.”

Listening to the Persecuted Church

Listening to the local Church is especially crucial in areas hostile to Christianity. After all, local believers know better than anyone how to safely distribute God’s Word and carry out covert ministry.

In most cases, Wycliffe Associates meets with persecuted Christians outside of their hostile environments in safe locations. There, they discuss Bible translation and printing needs, and provide training.

“We’re providing them [with] technology that they can sort of hide in plain sight — stuff that’s not too suspicious but stuff that enables them to print out their copies of Scripture…as they’re needed or as they’re translated,” Smith says.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh