Like Opening Banana Leaves!
After checking the book of Jonah, the first book to be translated in Malinguat, the co-translators returned to Wewak. Francis, a village Pastor, was thrilled, saying, "In the past the Bible was like a piece of pork wrapped in banana leaves. I tried many ways to explain how good it was, but the people just could not understand. Now, when I read the Book of Jonah in Malinguat, it was like opening the banana leaves. I saw the village people open their eyes wide with big smiles on their faces. Wow! They saw the delicious pork! They wanted to learn more about reading and about the contents of this Book."
Scripture is essential to knowing Jesus, but to truly understand its message, it must be translated into the language people know and understand best. As directed through the Great Commission, the Church carries the responsibility for Bible translation. BTA serves the Church in PNG through this specialised ministry.
Throughout history the Bible has had a profound impact on people and societies. Its impact is greatest when written in the tokples or the "heart language" of a people. It's easier to understand. People's lives are transformed through knowing God personally. People grow spiritually and build strong, healthy churches. Strong churches reach out to their neighbours, which can ultimately transform whole communities.
Through Bible translation people can taste the goodness of the spiritual food wrapped in the banana leaves of God's Holy Word. Understanding God's message of love and hope is essential to transforming individuals, churches and communities. And why is transformation so important? Because people are redeemed for eternity, and God receives the glory and worship He deserves.