Some scholars believe that the majority of the people in the world today remain predominantly oral communicators. This means they either 1) cannot read, or 2) if literate, still prefer the spoken word as the primary means of communicating ideas and information. This goes beyond just speaking to one another. It includes singing, dancing, drama and poetry. It’s a group activity, with audience participation or response.
It is vital to take this into consideration as we translate Scripture. The printed Word alone may not be sufficient to reach all the speakers of a particular language. Being able to hear Scripture in a group venue provides an opportunity to better understand the meaning of God’s Word in a traditional, cultural setting that encourages sharing and dialog.
Think about it. You may have personal devotion time when you quietly, individually study Scripture. But when you worship at church, the lessons are read, the hymns are sung, the sermon is spoken. You hear God’s Word in your own language.
We may not be part of one of the world’s oral societies, but speaking, listening, sharing, and exchanging ideas verbally is very much a part of our lives.
One aspect of the projects in which LBT is involved is to create accurate translations that can be printed and read. For those who will only be reached by the spoken word, we also create quality audio recordings that can be easily shared and distributed using more modern technology, such as audio players, CDs, SD cards and smart phone apps.
The Acts 2:11 Project celebrates the lives that are being changed as people are able to hear the Word of God in their own languages. For many, hearing God’s Word in their mother tongue opened their hearts to the Gospel for the first time.
Please take this opportunity to learn more about audio Scripture – and let others know about this critical need.
To learn more about what Lutheran Bible Translators is doing to address this challenge, visit the LBT website. You, too, can participate in this challenge of bringing Jesus’ Good News to oral communicators.