Lost in Translation(s and packaging)

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2007 at 11:53 am

“Oh really, you go to church too? I just started taking my family back to church, I didn’t go much when I was a kid but I think it’s the right thing to do for my kids, so they will grow up to be good.”

“That’s good that you’re doing that.”

“Yes and I just started going to a Wednesday night meeting, they talk about practical stuff there, stories from the Bible and such.”

“Really, what are you reading right now?”

“Well, I haven’t bought a Bible yet but I plan on doing that as soon as I get a chance to, they use the Spanish Bible at church and I like that, it’s in my language.”

“How long have you been going to church?”

“A few years now…”

A few minutes later, a trip to the local franchise bookstore revealed something to me that I had never really taken note of. We have more Bibles than we know what to do with. Has the Word of God become a product? You can get your Bible in any kind of packaging you want; metal casings, leather-bound, bonded leather, duo-tone leather, sheepskin leather, hardcover, paperback, thin-line, extra-wide margins, cloth casing with a handle to carry it, engraved, and even covered with the latest Christian artist’s face or album artwork. And English translations? Well, let’s just say you can have it in a language a cat could read.

I took a count of the number of Bibles in Spanish. I accomplished this with one hand. Not the number of translations or the number of packaging options mind you, the number of Bibles total.

But, the point I actually wanted to make was not about the difference in English/Spanish translations or packaging, that was just a side note. God’s Word is more powerful than a translation, or a human author’s notes, or a particular color scheme on the cover.

Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

and Jeremiah 23:39:

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”

My heart finds rest knowing that as this stranger reads through whatever translation (I don’t speak Spanish) was given to him, he will be hearing God’s Word, hopefully on the plane he was getting on a few hours later. The packaging wasn’t very slick, he probably won’t be very proud to show off his gift, but the Word is in his home now. He can read it, he can share it with his children, he can memorize it, he can live by it. Lives are changed by the Word through the Spirit, nothing more.

  1. […] a month ago, I shared a story about a man I gave a copy of the Bible to. I didn’t expect to hear from him ever again given […]

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