Bible Engagement Blog: JumpIntoTheWord

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Heart Language

For Bible engagement to be effective, people need to connect with the Bible in their heart language. The Apostle Paul alludes to this when he says, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” Ephesians 1:18-19 (NIV).

So what is heart language? In essence, it’s something more than language. It’s what unites us at the deepest level and includes our integrated value systems, beliefs, experiences, and the reality of who we are. But that’s not all. Heart language is transactional. It’s something that transcends who we are; it’s about God revealing and communicating His love for us, so that we hear and believe. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified …” Romans 10:10 (NIV).

In the Christian context, heart language is therefore about the human heart and God’s heart coming together. It’s us interacting with the triune God; an intimate relationship between One heart and another.

Which raises a question: What does heart language look like for different people, i.e. for every tribe and tongue and nation? Obviously, very different. In fact, while there may be a similar heart language within a specific culture, it may also be true to say that every individual has a unique heart language. That’s why God joins Himself with groups/communities of faith as well as allying Himself intimately with the thoughts and feelings He’s created in every individual.

But getting back to the opening sentence, and the association between heart language and Bible engagement …

God’s Word changes hearts. It is in and through the transference of God’s Word that our hearts are touched and transformed. When we rely on the power of the Spirit to help us interact with the Word (personally and communally), God speaks into our hearts in ways that nurture us to live only all for Him.

Thus to engage with the Bible we need to enter into the Word – to become part of the grand drama of salvation. This requires humbling and inclining our hearts. We must develop new postures of authenticity and vulnerability. For it is only when we open our hearts fully, that God will fully apply His Word and make us new creations with the capacity to worship Him and do good works.

All told, it is through the deeper work God does in our hearts, as His Word courses through us, that we are eventually redeemed, restored and reconciled to Him.

© Scripture Union Canada 2016

2 Corinthians 4:5


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First Nations Version

There’s finally an English to English First Nations Version New Testament (FNV) in the works for the aboriginal people of Turtle Island (North America).

The FNV will help millions of English-speaking First Nations people hear the Creators Word in their heart language. Due to forced assimilation, most First Nations people no longer speak their mother tongue, so an English paraphrase that uses the styles, idioms, nuances, thought forms and patterns of the aboriginal languages and cultures, is long overdue.

Rain Ministries and OneBook, working with a team of 15 Bible translators representing many tribes, denominations, and churches within First Nations communities, are translating the FNV. “This is an exciting project,” says Wayne Johnson, CEO of OneBook. “We aim to maintain church and local community ownership of the project and the final translated First Nations leadership of the project will be overseen by Terry Wildman and an Indigenous group of Bible scholars, pastors and lay people from across Turtle Island. They have been charged with providing leadership to the translation process in a contextual manner within the framework of biblical excellence.”

A draft copy of the Gospel of Luke is presently being reviewed by several hundred First Nations people. Teddy Peterson, an elder in Washington State says, “As a Native American, I could identify with this …” And Native Pastors, Jan and Corb Morgan add, “I think that this has an enjoyable flow to it and I can imagine sitting in a tipi reading it out loud. I believe that the traditional elders would enjoy it …”

Terry Wildman, the First Nations Pastor and musician who initiated the FNV translation, is delighted with the initial response. When conducting a prison Bible study three years ago, he recognized how “many guys struggled with even the NIV – they struggled relating to it … not so much understanding, but relating.”

While there will no doubt be enthusiastic receptivity to the FNV, and much appreciation for a version that First Nations people can relate to, there may be something deeper and more profound that’s happening with this translation project.

In a sex soaked, luxury loving, consumer driven, selfie focused culture; people desperately need fullness of life in Christ. Alcoholism and suicide rates among First Nations people are among the highest in the world. More than ever before, revival is needed. But it needs to begin with the Gatekeepers. In spiritual terms, the First Nations people are the original Gatekeepers of Turtle Island. Biblically speaking, the gatekeepers were the watchmen with the responsibility of protecting the people, keeping them on the right path, warning them of danger, and guiding them in the way of truth. If the ancient paths to knowing and being known by Creator are to be restored, i.e. if we are going to see a renewal of faith in Turtle Island, then we need revival among the First Nations people. And revival, as every student of church history knows, is birthed by the Spirit and fueled by Bible engagement. So pray that the FNV will be the seed that produces a crop that is 30, 60, 100 times what is sown (cf. Mark 4:20).

Creator Sets Free (Jesus) smiled and said to them, “When you send your voice to the Great Spirit, here is how you should pray.”

“O Great Father, the one who lives above us all, your name is sacred and holy. Bring your Good Road to us, where the beauty of your ways in the world above is reflected in the earth below. Provide for us day by day – the elk, the buffalo, and the salmon; the corn, the squash, and the wild rice; all the good things we need every day to feed our families. Release us from the things we have done wrong, in the same way we release others for the things done wrong to us, and guide us away from the things that tempt us to stray from your Good Road.”

Luke 11:2-4 (FNV)

Check this out: First Nations Version Interview With Georgina at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Pziur29Mgg&feature=youtu.be

© Scripture Union Canada 2016