Mission | Bible | Languages

Tag: languages (page 1 of 13)

Misplaced Apostrophe’s and Truth

This misuse of language should concern us as Christians. Our God is a God of truth who has chosen the written word as one of the key way to reveal himself to us. If we allow, or even encourage a culture to exist in which we can pick and choose the meaning of words to fit our own idealogical agenda, then we risk undermining one of the key planks of our faith.

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The Incarnation, Listening, Language Learning & Theology

Jesus spent thirty years growing up and living in the culture of His birth before He began to teach and proclaim the kingdom of God. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, there was no replacement for growing up in the culture and becoming a cultural insider.

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Different but Alike

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but it seems to me that the more insistent people are on being Protestant, the more likely they are to also insist that people should use the Authorised Version of the Bible. Likewise, those who are the most vociferous about their Roman Catholicism are the most likely to want to use Latin for the liturgy. In a recent post, Archdruid Eileen had a little bit of fun with the language issue, but made a serious point too: But the history of…

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Bible Translation as Subversion

In our current context, where we tend to make a clear division between religion and politics, it is easy to dismiss Bible translation as a marginal activity which is only of interest to religious people. However, the reality is that any activity which involves the promotion of minority languages, as Bible translation inevitably does, is a highly political activity. In the popular imagination, we tend to conceive languages as being functions of nation states. We speak English in the United Kingdom, French in France, and German in Germany etc. However,…

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Jesus Did Not Speak English

It isn’t often that I get called in to referee an argument between the Pope and the Israeli Prime Minister, but last week, I was interviewed by our local radio station about what language Jesus spoke. In what was a pleasant chat, I gave the generally accepted answer, that he probably spoke a number of languages; Aramaic in every day situations, Hebrew in religious contexts and perhaps some Greek or Latin. However, what I really wanted to say was that JESUS DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH! Whatever those Sunday school posters…

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The Five-Percent

The “world languages” of Europe determine to a great extent how theology is done and which questions are posed. With ninety-five percent of the world’s population having access to at least a portion of Scripture translated in a language they understand the five-percent minority remains significantly neglected. This five percent includes over three hundred million people and more than two-thirds of the worlds languages. From a linguistic perspective, these minority-language speakers are the poor. Not only are they generally poor socially, economically and politically, but they are oppressed religiously by…

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Let The LAMP Die: Missionary Language Learning

Outdated language learning techniques still hang on in the mission community, despite better options being available out there. What does this say about our ability to adapt to the future?

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Words in Context

Translation is simple isn’t it? Just a case of finding the right words in the new language to replace the words in the old language; nothing to it really! Well, of course it isn’t as simple as that. Words combine into phrases which don’t quite up to the sum of the individual parts; has anyone ever really had a frog in their throat? There are many complexities in translation; not least the fact that words change their meaning according to the context. Nataly Kelly, co-author of the excellent Found in Translation, has…

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Land and Identity

The British press has been full of stories about immigration, recently. Depending on the newspaper you read, you may have discovered that immigrants threaten the social fabric of the UK or that they bring nothing but economic and cultural benefits. However, you would have struggled to find much about the way in which moving from one culture to another can have on the immigrant. This song by Gilles Servat captures this side of things wonderfully. It is written from the perspective of a Breton going to live in Paris, but…

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A New Reformation?

Church historians sometimes downplay one of the key planks of the Protestant Reformation; the use of indigenous languages in Bible study, worship and disciple making. A great deal is made of the theological influence of Luther, Calvin et al, but language gets much less attention. However, the Reformation both encouraged and depended on the use of the indigenous languages of Northern Europe. The increasing number of translations of the Bible, prayer books and hymnals encouraged an increase in theological thinking which solidified the break with Rome and led to distinctive expressions…

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