Monday, August 28, 2006


In Dr. Lamin Senneh'’s book, Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel beyond the West, the author makes a pretty clear case for the foundational importance of Bible translation.

Senneh, a native of Gambia and professor at Yale Divinity School, answers the question of why Christianity has flooded Africa and Asia. He suggests that mother tongues—native languages as a means of translating the Gospel—were the catalyst for such change. The importance of mother tongue translation is found in the fact that the "New Testament Gospels are a translated version of the message of Jesus, and that means Christianity is a translated religion without a revealed language." Senneh builds on this premise, showing translation as a benchmark of the Christian Church.

He further involves the reader in discussion on the importance of mother tongue translation of the Bible, citing interesting facts such as the Bible adopted into its canon the indigenous names for God. Interesting argument. I'd never thought of it myself, that's for sure.

Rather than having a faith dictated to them, anyone (but especially the minority language speaker whose language, along with the rest of his culture, has been used to "prove" his low status) with translated scripture has a sense of pride—a sentiment born from the notion that God cares about them so much, he can speak to them in their own language.

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