PREPARING SCRIPTURE

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Every work for God begins with one person yielding to do Godís will and then following through. As that person works, God sends others to help and encourage in the work.

If you are new to translation work, my advice is to start small. Begin with the first chapter of John or a short tract, to get the feel of what is involved. The grammar, sentence structure and idioms in most languages are different from English, and therein lies the challenge.

Have a national (Lord willing, saved and separated, but if not, get the best you can) check the translation for grammar and understanding. If you can find a national who has a good knowledge of English, this would be a definite advantage.

Be willing to accept criticism, swallow your pride, and learn, because translation work is a learning experience.

I would suggest the following steps, after much prayer, which is vital before any steps should be taken:

  • 1. Fervently pray for Godís guidance and wisdom. The devil hates this activity and will do all in his power to mess it up.
  • 2. Translate daily, 2-3 hours, during the morning hours (when your mind is alert).
  • 3. Set a reasonable pace, 25-50 verses daily, but donít let your goal rule your life.
  • 4. Keep excellent notes of how key words are translated (this will help for when you find that word later in the Bible, i.e. prophet should always be prophet and not foreteller or diviner).
  • 5. Have your work checked daily, if possible, while the text is fresh in your mind.
  • 6. Once you have finished a chapter or two, get other missionaries or national Christians to check the text Ė this will give you an idea of how you are doing, and also will involve them in the work, hopefully gaining their prayer and future support.
  • 7. I would recommend translating John and Romans first, then when they are finished, you could print a John/Romans for distribution. You will also get many of your verses for gospel tracts from these two books.
  • 8. As you continue your work, God will send workers and helpers, people who have the same burden as you, to assist in the work.
  • 9. Pray Much!
  • Here are some things that Iíve found helpful in Bible translation. All of these are in the form of computer programs, but can also be found in book form.

    Bible software program with Strongs Concordance, I use Logos http://www.logos.com/ but there are many programs available, free Bible programs can be found on the web also.

    Other programs can be found at http://www.e-sword.net/, http://www.powerbible.com/ (many commentaries and dictionaries available with the Power Bible program), http://www.bibledatabase.com/ and http://www.crosswire.org/

    Sword Searcher Bible software http://www.swordsearcher.com/ contains KJV Bible and several commentaries, good for researching the meanings of words, current version has a lot of helps.

    If the translator can read Greek/Hebrew, then obtain the Textus Receptus versions.

    Websters 1828 Dictionary, good for meanings of KJV English words.

    American Heritage Dictionary.

    Holman Bible Dictionary.

    PC Bible Maps, good for understanding Bible geography, directions, etc.

    Bi-lingual dictionaries, ex. Thai-English, get several if possible because some may not contain all words or all variations of words.

    Way of Life Encyclopedia, by David Cloud http://wayoflife.org/

    List of common errors found in non-KJV Bibles http://www.av1611.org/biblecom.html

    If the translator will also be doing the typesetting, have them check with the printer before doing the typesetting about page size, computer program to use, etc. to make sure they prepare something the printer can work with easily. Many printers now can go directly from the computer program to making plates. PageMaker seems to be the preferred program.

    These are programs/books Iíve found helpful. A translator might not need all of these, but it may give a good idea of types of programs/books that would be of help.

    One thing I have found invaluable in translation work is the computer. If you canít use one, learn how. I have prepared a Bible translation program for IBM compatible computers. On one screen you can view the KJV text, the KJV text with Strongís numbers, and the new text that you are translating. You can also do word searches and word changes. This program is free to anyone who will use it in Bible translation.

    Finally, Bible translation can be a lifelong project. Adoniram Judson spent 25 years translating the Burmese Bible. That text remains the paramount Bible translation in Burma today. No one has even tried to introduce a RSV, ASV, NIV, etc., because nothing can compare with the KJV text that he translated. He spent 25 years doing the work, and yet it has stood the test of time. Be willing to take time and do it right, and may God bless your work.

    "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

     


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