By Steve Hayward
I have been reading for over 50 years now. Yes, I started very young! I have been involved in churches all my life, went to Bible college for five years, and have been a Bible translator for thirty years. I am sure I have read through the whole Bible several times, though it for the most part has been in pieces as over the years I studied one section and then another. How many times have I really sat down and read large sections so that my mind could better fit together the different parts of the whole story? Probably not often.
During the month of June, seven Tay men and women spent 20 days reading through the entire New Testament in their language. It was the last step before typesetting the Tay New Testament. We did it to listen to the text so that they could find and work on anything that sounded unnatural in the Tay language or just plain didn’t make any sense. Starting in Matthew, we read for 7-8 hours a day five days a week for four weeks, until we were through the last verse of Revelation.
I got to thinking: here were people who did not have anyone in their language group who could read 40 years ago, and of these seven it was probably only 15 years or so ago that they started learning to read. Yet here they were, reading out loud or following along on their rough printed copies of the text, doing something that most of us rarely if ever do: read through the whole New Testament in a short period of time.
It was great to do this checking session with them. But it was even greater to know that God was planting His Word in their hearts and minds in a very special way! Some of them I am sure had never even heard the whole of the New Testament, and now they have. Each day even as we read and worked on this together, I prayed that God would plant those words firmly in their lives, and that through that He would bring a bountiful harvest for His kingdom among the Tay and the other language groups around them. I pray the same for you and for me, that we would give God’s Word more and more opportunity to be planted firmly in our hearts and minds, and that He would bring great fruit through our faithfulness to that.
Steve is a Bible translator serving the Tay language group.