Missionary biographies, especially of translators and those involved in any of the triad of BT disciplines, are an incredible way to learn and grow in the Christian faith, while learning missiology and theology at the same time. There are many good biographies available, and books with summaries of those biographies, such as John Piper’s series, The Swans are not Silent, and the all the biographical-sermons he has done at Desiring God conferences and the Cross Conference. Here are some of bios we have benefited from:
- William Carey, by S. Pearce Carey. This is my favorite biography thus far, giving a picture of both sides of the sending-and-going of the missionary-translation enterprise. Both senders and those who go will gain greater appreciation for the manifold ways God’s grace works in believers to partner together for the progress of the gospel, whether through translation, printing, teaching, evangelizing, engaging in politics, or whatever other gift one has to engage the world with the gospel. We should pray and work towards sending men like Andrew Fuller (pastor-theologian-sender) and William Carey (missionary-pastor-translator).
- William Tyndale, by David Daniell. The champion of the English Bible.
- Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, by John Sargent. Translated the Persian NT from Greek and Psalms from Hebrew, printed in one volume in 1816 and later used in the printing of NT and OT into the first Persian Bible in 1856 (Noss, 53).
On Bible Translation
- In the Beginning was the Word: Language – A God-Centered Approach, by Vern Poythress. This is one of my favorite books of all time, bringing together Dr. Poythress’ expertise in the full triad of Bible translation disciplines and thus presenting a masterfully written biblical approach to language. The appendices are a gold mine of interaction with various theories and approaches to linguistics and linguistic philosophy.
- A History of Bible Translation, ed. Phil Noss. See blog for posts as we read and comment on this.
- Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed, D. A. Carson. Carson writes, “I have had the privilege of working with SIL/Wycliffe personnel on three continents. I am a huge admirer of their work, some of it undertaken in highly challenging circumstances. Some of them are linguistically well trained. But I have to say that rather few of them are trained in exegesis, biblical theology or systematic theology. Very few of them have an MDiv, let alone more advanced training. With rare exceptions, I have not found them to be deep readers of Scripture, with the result that their approaches to translation challenges tend to be atomistic. No one can be an expert in everything, of course—but if I have any hope for this book, it is that some of these diligent and learned workers will begin to see the importance for Bible translation of the considerations I am advancing here, and that more of them will pursue advanced theological training as part of their preparation for a life in translation” (Carson, 107-108).
On Canon and Textual Criticism
- Canon Revisited, Michael Kruger.
- New Testament Textual Criticism, David Alan Black
On Missions and Theology
- The Missionary Call, M. David Sills
- Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper
- Paradigms in Conflict, David Hesselgrave
- An Introduction to the Science of Missions, J.H. Bavinck
- Serving as Senders, Neal Pirolo
- What is the Mission of the Church, Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert
- Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods, Eckhard Schnabel