Worth of the Vernacular

Why do Christians translate their holy book when some religions do not? Can Scriptures translated into another language still be the Word of God? Is God's Word too holy for some languages? Why are we sure that Bible translation must happen?

ABT has developed a philosophy of Bible translation to answer questions like these. This first of 5 sections focuses on why people's everyday, native speech—their vernacular—is important.



ABT's Translation Philosophy, Part 1 of 5
WORTH OF THE VERNACULAR

The multiplicity of languages and dialects, though a consequence of proud human nature, reveals the order and creativity of God. God not only initiated the original diversity of languages at Babel, but He also superintends the process as languages continue to develop and diversify.

Language is a gift from God. We refuse to look down on any language, whether widely or sparsely used, and whether others respect or despise those who speak it. We are committed to demonstrating respect for any people by valuing the language of their hearts, because the identity and worth of any people group, both in others’ perception and their own, is inextricably bound up with their vernacular.

Language is for communication. Every language can and should be used in relationship with God, both in speaking to Him and hearing from Him. With God there is not the faintest shadow of distinction between daily life and religion. Any language is worthy to be used in religious matters and church life, and we will in no way promote the idea that any language could possibly be too common or inferior for such uses.

The Word of God speaks to each person’s daily walk and relationships, and is best communicated to each person in the vernacular. We therefore conclude that speakers of any language which is used as the primary means of communication among any group, and is likely to continue as such for the near future, should have the Scriptures in their heart language.

Read Part 2, Origin of the Text

  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10