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  • Writer's pictureTim Robinson

It Pierces the Heart

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Joyful reactions by villagers to hearing Jeremiah and Habakkuk in their language for the first time in a Christian-minority language group.

In March 2017 about two dozen believers from a language group where Christians are a tiny minority came together to review the translation of Jeremiah and Habakkuk: that is, to do a read-through, make comments and give advice on the draft. It was their first time to encounter this material in their own language, rather than in Hausa, the trade language. Habakkuk is a short three-chapter book; Jeremiah clocks in at 52 chapters. The reviewers were spellbound by Jeremiah.

“It pierces the heart.” “I feel like I’ve never read this book before.”
“That’s because we’ve never heard it in our language before,”said a retired evangelist soberly.
“You never get tired of hearing it,” said an old white-bearded elder, a wide grin spreading across his face.
“All those years I spent in Bible school,” said a pastor meditatively,
“and yet it’s as if I’ve never read this!”

Later, as everyone was sitting around chatting in the evening, one man commented, “This book we’ve read puts me in awe of God.” On the last day, one young man said, “When I’ve read the Bible in Hausa, I’ve never enjoyed it so much as I have these days reading it in my own language. Now that I’ve had this experience, I’m really going to pray for the translation team as they continue this important work.”

Having Scripture in our own language is something many take for granted, and it’s hard to realize how gripping mother-tongue Scriptures is for someone who has only ever encountered the Word through the dark glasses of a second language. If you have the Bible in your own language, thank God for it and pray for those language groups in Nigeria who are still waiting, that soon they too would have the truth of the Gospel in a language that pierces their hearts.

Adapted by: Beverly Harrar Original Author: Rachelle Wenger

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