Take Two Every Twelve Hours

Personally, I think one of the greatest experiences a missionary gets to have is to experience the Bible in another language. That may sound a little strange, especially when you consider the nightmarish work that goes into it. I honestly hadn’t really given THAT part much thought. As a Christian, we should continually strive to have a deeper knowledge of God through devotion to His Word. We are familiar with the Bible’s layout, its vocabulary, its wording. We memorize and recite its verses. We comfortably explain important doctrines and cite cover-to-cover references. Even the craziest names strike familiar notes in our ears. By “reason of use,” we feel confident in our ability to find answers in its pages. But…

Same Book, new language. I have to memorize those verses again. I have to learn the HanYu vocabulary. I have to know the answers in the new language. The names – from Bethsaida to Nebuchadnezzar, from Eden to Demas – all have to be learned again. Redemption? I’m for it, just don’t ask me to explain it in Chinese! I really didn’t anticipate what kind of a challenge this would turn out to be. The “Bible knowledge” folder in my brain has to be translated before it can do the Chinese people any good. Sometimes all this “re-learning” makes you feel like a stroke victim or something.

So to help with this process, I have started to read the Bible everyday in Chinese. My ability is about at the point where this isn’t a complete waste of time. It’s still arduously, painfully slow, but I’m making it through about two Chinese chapters twice a day (the same two chapters twice a day). Only takes a couple of hours (and half-a-dozen Tylenol). And, believe it or not, I’m really enjoying it! Learning to appreciate it, anyways. Something about studying in a different language makes you notice things that you never noticed before. Maybe it’s the wording. Maybe it’s how carefully your mind dissects every word’s meaning. Maybe it’s just the time it takes you to move through it. We certainly have a tendency in our native language to read the Bible faster than God speaks to us.

But it’s just a reminder to me to whose book the Bible is. And why we read it in the first place.

One Comment on “Take Two Every Twelve Hours”

  1. Josh Leise August 12, 2007 at 6:37 pm #

    I have been in Indonesia for 2 1/2 years and I would agree that reading the Bible in another language forces you to go slower and get more out of it, I find sometimes the way it is worded brings out something that I had always read, but never noticed.

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