We hear stories all the time about how hearing the holy Scriptures in a person’s native language transforms daily life. God’s Spirit penetrates people’s hearts in tangible ways through the Bible. In Ethiopia, the Baiso people listen to the Bible translation drafts as the Scriptures are read to them. In this way, the translation team can ensure that their translation is natural and communicates clearly the Spirit of God’s message.
One person who heard the spoken words of the Bible was a man named Qecho Taye. He said that hearing 1 Peter 1:22-25 in Baiso changed his heart forever. He used to follow the traditional religion of his people and practiced polygamy. The Word spoken in Baiso assured him, ‘Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls
But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
That word was the good news that was announced to you.’ –1 Peter 1:22-25 (NRSV)
Now, as an active believer in one of the evangelical churches in his village, Qecho no longer practices the traditional religion, going to witch doctors and living in fear. The Word of God in his heart language impressed his spirit to praise the Lord for revealing his Word in Baiso!
One of the elders from the Baiso people, who serves as part of the review committee for the Baiso Bible, testified to the impact of having access to God’s Word in Baiso saying, ‘My community and I now are sensing our own identity as people who are loved by God. We now feel like we are part of the global community of Christians everywhere because of the Word of God. We felt like we were locked on an island away from the rest of the people who speak a different language from us, living in darkness and worshipping lifeless gods. Now we enjoy God’s light as we anticipate having the Baiso Bible in a language we fully understand!’
Having the Word of God accessible in the language they best understand offers the Baiso people the ability feel connected to the entire Body of Christ, and allows them to deepen their faith and grow more confident in their identity in Christ!
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