by Martha Wade
“Why did the ones going around telling God’s talk not work for money?” I asked, and Boni said, “They couldn’t find a job?” Hearing his answer, I knew it was back to the drawing board on 1 Cor 9.6 – one sentence in the NIV, “Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?”
Rhetorical questions do not translate well into Apal so the verse has to be restated. As we worked on the revision, Jeffrey came up with what he thought was a good draft, but then I read the last sentence which said, “If we had had a name [prestige] we could have done like that, but we didn’t (because we don’t have (a name [prestige]).” Investigating further, I realized that Jeffrey had totally misunderstood the verse. Paul did have the right/prestige/authority to not work and just depend on the believers as he ministered to them, but he chose not to do that. Once Jeffrey understood the concept, he quickly fixed the draft and the entire verse now says, “Barnabas and I for the purpose of helping ourselves we ourselves habitually get stone seed [money] work,” he said. “Given that [but] half some [some of the] men were telling God’s talk and while they were walking, some other men were habitually feeding them food,” he said. “They were not habitually getting stone seed work [work for money] for the purpose of helping themselves,” he said. “We are characterized by a name [have prestige], given that [but],” he said. “We are not habitually doing like they are habitually doing,” he said.” (Literal translation of 1 Cor 9:6 in Apal). This is quite a bit longer than one sentence in Greek and English, but it is important that the message of the Bible is understood.
Later as we read 1 Cor 9.27 and revised the first part of the verse, Jeffrey said, “I’m afraid of this last part of the verse.” At first I was confused about how you can be afraid of something on paper in the Bible, but then I read the verse, “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Jeffrey is now the main preacher in the village. His fear is that he will fall into sin and not win the prize of being in heaven with God.
“While I am only telling Jesus Christ’s talk for men and women and walking, and while they are only being good, I myself saying, ‘I should not do bad [be destroyed],’ I am habitually standing strong and getting [doing] this work,” he said.” (1 Cor 9.27b Literal translation of the Apal translation)
Jeffrey definitely understood this part of 1 Cor 9.27! Pray that 1 Cor will speak to the hearts of men and women in the Apal speaking area so that all will attain the prize.