Unless you use the King James version of the Bible, your Bible most likely has a copyright. That copyright protects the rights of the translators and can also make sure that each copy is identical and not modified. In many places around the world, various versions of God's Word have been translated into local languages, but care has not always been given to the copyright, which in many cases is unclear. What happens when you want to put the Scriptures on the Internet or distribute them on memory chips that can be read by cell phones? Somehow you have to get permission from the agency that produced it as well as access to the original data. You would be amazed at how many times we come up against obstacles like this on the field. Sometimes we can't locate the copyright holder, and even if we can, we rarely can find the original data files.
No problem, we'll just retype it.
Oh, um, right. Any volunteers?
Despite all our technology, we then find ourselves in the same position as the scribes who painstakingly copied from manuscript to manuscript. Where do we even begin?
That is why there is a massive Spirit-led effort today among all the major Bible translation missions to put existing Scriptures into a common format, digitized, and easy to share. This movement is led by Every Tribe Every Nation, with a simple goal of erasing Bible poverty. This multi-mission organization masterminded what is now called the Digital Bible Library (DBL). When a Bible gets stored in that library, people know exactly who to ask for permission to reproduce, and they can get immediate access to a digital format with outputs for many purposes: cell phone, Internet, and the printed page.
The most popular Bible app today, YouVersion, already takes advantage of the DBL to access and display Scripture content. Currently, they host 739 different Bible versions in 460 languages and we are putting up more languages all the time. Part of my (Doug's) job is to provide training for field publishing agents who will help translation teams prepare and upload their texts into the DBL. We are gearing up for a massive workshop this summer, Lord willing. If we do this well, we will never again be looking at a text like the one above and scratching our heads about where and how to get it. Let’s not forget, this is God’s Word and it must go out to the ends of the earth!
As you read this, both Priscilla and I are heading to Thailand for a week-long conference on Presenting God’s Word: Visually, orally, with mobile, and with social networks. Bible translation is about giving people access to God’s Word, and that is not always the printed page. We can’t wait to hear, to learn, and to share these new approaches with teams on the field.
Our big family news right now is that Roger was accepted to Calvin College and got a financial package that enables him to attend. This puts him in Grand Rapids starting in August, in the same place where both his brothers currently are. We’re thankful that he’ll have a support network there as he pursues his education.
Partners in the Gospel, (Phil 1:5)
Doug & Priscilla
Prayer & Praise
- Praise God for a successful Outilingua training in Togo in February. We had a number of first time participants and they were equipped to help translation teams in their areas.
- Praise God for Roger's financial aid package for college, and pray for God's leading in his life as he finishes out high school here.
- Pray for the Presenting God's Word conference in Thailand, for the 320 participants from all over the world to learn and be inspired.
- Praise God that most of the staff positions at Black Forest Academy are filled for next school year. Pray for remaining positions to be filled.
- Pray for Doug as he plans the workshop to train specialists in Africa how to move Scriptures into the Digital Bible Library.