Would You Buy a Microwave Bible?

BTF partner Dave Hare responds to recent concerns on the speed vs. quality question in recent BT methodologies coming out of the Wycliffe Associates (or “family” of organizations). I recently sat in on a discussion at the 2015 SIL/GIAL BT conference in Dallas, on this very question. I was thankful that more experienced missionaries were also showing concerns about speed that denigrates quality. They concluded that these two should not be at odds with one another.

Before you complain or criticize, it is helpful to ask what you are doing to contribute to the more than 6,569 languages that lack a full Bible translation, or the 531 translations that are expected to need revision within 20 years. What are you, and your church doing to strengthen the global church through translating, church planting, Bible translation, and church strengthening, or in providing theological education to raise up not only translators but ministers of the Word. It is also helpful to see what others are proposing, and how they are trying to speed up translation methods by working with training mother tongue translators from a whole group or cluster of related languages in an area. For more info on the BT 3.0 movement and rapid methodologies, see UnfoldingWord.org.

One positive that I see right away is the move to return BT to the church, instead of leaving it to the professional linguists and para-church ministries, who often do not integrate their work with evangelism, church-planting and theological education. Yet, even though some of these para-church ministries explicitly do not engage in church planting, evangelism and discipleship, they are doing some similar activities, and calling them “Scripture Engagement.” I’ve heard that missionaries who are doing Scripture Engagement are all scrambling to figure out what that really means, who the target audience is, and all the other necessary qualifications that come with redefining the age-old biblical concepts of evangelism, discipleship, church planting, church strengthening, pastoral training, establishing elders, etc.

Since Dave is serving on the field in BT and church planting, he is not one to be ignored on this issue. Check out Dave’s post, “Would you Buy a Microwave Bible?”