—by Ruth Hubbard, Wycliffe Bible Translators
God speaks to us through His Word. It’s a love letter and a life guide; a collection of spectacular stories, mysterious prophecies, and delightful poetry—all of it pointing to Him. Think about all the ways that God has wowed and wooed you through the Bible. Now imagine your life without the Word or its impact. Dismal? Discouraging? Disconnected, perhaps?
God Communicates His Love
A Filipino pastor shared that when a young man in his congregation wants to tell his sweetheart that he loves her, he does not use English or Tagalog (widely known national languages of the Philippines) but the language of their hearts—the language they learned at home. The young man wants to be sure she understands.
God wants people of every language to understand His heart—His love for them.
God’s Word clearly teaches that Jesus’ death ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. If people from every language are called to worship, then it makes sense that God’s Word should be translated into every language.
God Communicates His Truth
When people hear and read God’s Word in their heart language, they understand like never before—they are wowed and wooed by their Creator God Who loves them dearly. When God’s Word is clear, their lives can be transformed.
A translation consultant in Indonesia had been working for several days testing the impact and accuracy of several newly translated New Testament portions. As he was chatting with a few of the local people, one man quietly said, “These past five days have really upset me.”
The man went on to explain: “All these years I thought I really understood the Bible. But this experience has shown me that there is heaps of stuff I never knew was there. It makes me feel like I have spent my life reading the Bible by moonlight, seeing just the shapes and shadows of things, but not the details of what is really there. Now, it is as if someone has turned on a great big spotlight, and for the first time in my life I can see clearly what is in the Bible.”
When God’s Word penetrates the heart and mind, the impact of its light is powerful.
God Communicates Through You
When teaching the Word of God to children, pray that each child will develop not only a love for God’s Word in their own language, but also a love for the people whom God loves. Children need to know that they can be involved now—they don’t have to wait until they’re older to participate. Include them in the process of getting the Word to those who need it by engaging them in prayer. Share with them how they can pray for translators working throughout the world. Engage them in praying for the 380 million Bibleless people. Encourage the children to find creative ways to give of their resources.
Most of all, remember that when they see you demonstrate your love for God’s inspired Word, the Holy Bible, that is a lesson they will not forget.
It is easy for us to take the Bible for granted. Many Christians who have grown up with the Bible forget how special it is, because it has “always been there.” But the Bible truly is an amazing gift. In a world of man-made religions, God has broken through the confusion and made Himself known. He has spoken! That one fact revolutionizes every aspect of life on this planet. Anyone who reads the Bible reads the very words of the Living God.
But many people around the world do not have a Bible they can read. Pray your children will develop a heart for those who have not heard its message of salvation. As they learn the process by which God has brought His Word to them, they can appreciate their own role in bringing it to others.
How We Got the Bible
The story of how God’s Word has come to us is an incredible example of His love, faithfulness, and concern for people. God did not simply dictate to a few authors and leave it at that. Rather, He has been involved in every stage of a fascinating process. Throughout that process, God has graciously allowed people to partner with him in bringing His Word to the world. At the same time, His Holy Spirit has always been present, making sure that nothing corrupts the message of the most important book ever written.
First, God revealed His heart to people. By speaking directly to men such as Abraham and Moses, by giving His Word through the prophets, and most of all by sending His Son, God unveiled the truth about Himself. Next, the Holy Spirit inspired godly men who wrote the history, poetry, prophecy, and letters. The “autographs,” the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, contained God’s very Word.
The process continued as faithful scribes made exact copies of the Biblical books, taking incredible care to duplicate every word. The Holy Spirit guided this step, too, ensuring their success. He also directed other devoted people who sought God’s help in collecting the 66 books that make up our Bible today. They carefully weeded out those books that had not been inspired.
Finally, God’s Holy Spirit oversees the ongoing work of translating His Word for every language in the world. Centuries ago, dedicated scholars saw the need for an English Bible and trusted God to help them in this task. Today, committed Christians continue to bring Scripture to cultures that have never heard the good news.
Why We Got the Bible
God’s Word is perfect. Not only is it completely true, it is alive, able to speak to our hearts and transform our lives. And the Bible is eternal: it is just as powerful today as it was when it was first written.
God gave the Bible to transform us and to prepare us to serve Him. He programs our minds when we read the Bible. He shapes our hearts and changes our lives when we obey what the Bible says. And as we continue to choose God’s way, He equips us to represent Him to others.
Help kids discover the wonderful truth that the God of the universe has spoken to them. What is more, He wants to use them to speak to others. Let the adventure begin!