Archive for the ‘Scripture engagement’ Category


Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 by Martin Horton

We started up some ladies’ football teams, but not just to learn football!

Football and the Bible. Not normally a combination you would think of. Though this combination is making a big difference in the Safwa language area in Tanzania.

John and Amani are Scripture engagement and literacy workers in the Safwa language area. In their work they cover areas such as teaching people to read, selling local language books, promoting the local language and Scripture engagement training.

They meet with pastors and members of the community to encourage people to use their own language and teach them to read their language, as well as train people to be literacy or Sunday school teachers or how to lead Bible studies.

Surprisingly, it was Bible studies that led to the setting up of the ladies’ football teams. Amani began it first in his own village and then it rapidly caught on in a neighbouring village too. Three times a week the ladies meet to practice and spend time learning to read the Safwa language and how to lead Bible studies. Their studies have begun with Mark’s gospel.

They come from different denominations and some don’t even go to church but they are starting to learn the word of God. And they want to inspire others too! The ladies have said how ‘they will continue this work of teaching people and will make sure that the word of God reaches every corner, even to their children.’ The ladies have also commented how eager they are to learn Safwa and the Bible so it can be used in their communities.

Please will you pray:
• For protection over John and Amani as they travel, often over rough roads.
• For connections with significant people in communities that will open the door to the word of God reaching many people in the Safwa language
• For the ladies on the football teams, that they would not only have fun playing together, but would be motivated to read the Bible and would be changed by the power of God’s word and his Spirit at work amongst them.

Subscribe to receive our free magazine Words for Life. It’s packed full of interesting articles and prayer information.

God will find a way

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

Life is full of ups and downs. All of us experience frustrations and challenges as well as breakthrough and success. Often we think we have a clear picture of what success looks like, but sometimes God has a different idea.

Wycliffe is in the business of translating the Bible because we believe that the Bible is the best way for people to come to know and understand who God is.

A Bible translator in Papua New Guinea, Jonathan, had spent several mornings at Nindewari market, trying to sell Scripture books in the local language, Binandere. Imagine Jonathan’s frustration over spending all this time and only selling six books. He passionately wanted the Binandere people to read God’s word but there seemed to be little interest. Karen Weaver takes up the story:

‘He and his wife Kathy were planning to visit two Binandere villages upstream on the Gira River. Should he try to sell books there? Reluctantly he put the latest Binandere Scripture books in his backpack and carefully crossed the narrow log bridge, heading toward Kadeu village. The books he carried were a compilation of Mark, Luke, and Acts.

When he arrived at the first village, Jonathan had the opportunity to read the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) out loud to several men who were gathered on a porch playing cards. Drawn to the words, two of the men quietly arose and began peering over his shoulder to see this book written in their language. As soon as Jonathan finished the story, one of the men announced, “I want to buy one of those books.” Just that morning the man had walked 13 miles to visit his relatives in this house and was happy to be there when Jonathan came.’

…..One by one, the Scripture books were purchased by the Binanderes.’

Read the full story on The PNG experience.

Praise God that he has opened a way for Binandere people to have portions of Scripture in their language.

Please pray:

  • For increased spiritual hunger among the Binandere people.
  • That those who bought the Scripture books will read them and that their lives will be impacted. Pray that they will share them with their families and the rest of the community.
  • Ask God to encourage Wycliffe workers around the world who are facing frustrations and challenges today. Ask him to help them seek his solution for the situation they find themselves in.

Why not subscribe to receive our free magazine Words for Life. It’s packed full of interesting articles and has a prayer diary too to help you pray regularly for Bible translation needs around the world.

Choir links translation team to community

Monday, March 20th, 2017 by Ruth

Recording worship music in the mother tongue can be a great way to cause a language community to get excited about a new translation project.  Here’s a window on what is happening near Mbeya, Tanzania, describing a choir from the Bungu language community recording with Wycliffe member Jo Clifford and team:

Choir recording (photo: Mary Pence)

The voices seemed to soar in the tall church, as if filling a cathedral. Traditional lines of melody wove skilfully together. Chants arose like medieval prayers. Then, suddenly, in an amazing fusion with African tradition, drums began, then metal whistles followed by trilled yells, as if everyone were celebrating a wedding.

Jo was impressed with the choir’s preparation. They moved quickly through the first group of songs. All had been written or translated into Bungu expressly for this day. All had solidly worshipful themes: ‘Let Us Love All People’, ‘Come to Me All Who Are Troubled’, ‘Father Please Receive Our Gifts’, ‘I Am the True Vine, You Are the Branches.’

After the first set, everyone stopped to wipe their sweat and listen to the playback. Jo’s crew handed out bottles of water. A breeze through the tall windows felt good. Outside, a schoolboy drove a herd of goats through the churchyard. The largest stopped to scratch his hide impiously on one of the church’s front steps.

Among all the percussion instruments, only the whistle seemed store-bought. Animal skins stretched over tin buckets became drums, struck by fists or a thin branch. Soda caps strung on a wire were shaken. An empty soda bottle struck with a steel opener made a sharp, far-ringing clink. One woman twisted a three-legged stool — its leg bottoms had been shaped to scrape over the surface of an overturned earthenware cooking pot. Different sized pots achieved different sounds…

Choir recordings like this are important for the project because they can be done before Scripture translation, during those first slow years while linguists build alphabets, and local speakers train as translators. An audio CD is something the community can see and hold (and hear), long before any Scripture portion gets printed. And every choir wants to produce its own recordings — it’s one of the ultimate things a church choir can do here in Tanzania. So offering this service puts the project in very good standing in the church community.

But most of all, it lets people know that, as Jo says,
“God speaks their language.”

(Read full story on by Steve Pence, Language Team Administrator, Mbeya, Tanzania)

You can read more about Vernacular Music and Arts on the Wycliffe blog.

Getting our game face on

Monday, October 3rd, 2016 by Camilla

Games are probably as old as time itself. So what’s new? Themes and formats of games are changing with the times, of course, and we’re also looking at a shift in attitudes regarding the value of games. Peter offers some insight into what’s going on in the area of games.

‘When was the last time you heard a lecture on the “theology of play” or a sermon about what games Jesus would play? If you are involved in children’s ministry or youth work then games and fun activities are probably a key part of your toolkit. But how much are they a standard part of the wider thinking of mission agencies and how much are they a part of the mission of God?

Play serves many functions in society not simply as a tool to bring about education and behavioural reinforcement, but as a natural way of exploring new ideas, developing skills and habits, and of relaxing and socialising.

Eminent theologians, sociologists, educationalists, psychologists, therapists, and marketing experts have written on various issues around what kinds of games are beneficial, how much screen time and outdoor play should be allowed or encouraged.

MissioMaze is the latest incarnation of one simulation idea now available as an iPhone app, in which the expectations on a Western missionary of a sending church are compared to the demands of life ‘on the field’.

Phone apps are also increasingly being used as tools for evangelism and discipleship, not because people waste time on games and so we must hook them with game-like tracts, but because people play games and games have value.

Gamification is a relatively new term that has become a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s basically the idea of using game elements in non-game environments. For game elements think points, badges, leaderboards, onboarding, leveling up, boss-fights, or simply the theme tune of a TV quiz show.

For non-game environments think work, exercise, dieting, housework, or Bible study. A couple of years ago the YouVersion Bible app started awarding virtual badges to people for finishing a study series. The Go-Tandem site and app is designed to help you in your spiritual development with a series of nudges and game-like elements used to track your progress.’

This story is adapted from a post by Peter Brassington which originally featured on Redcliffe’s Bible and Mission blog. Check out even more great stuff on digital engagement and games on Peter’s own blog.

Bible Translation 101: Scripture engagement

Monday, August 29th, 2016 by Camilla

Wycliffe Bible Translators does more than just translate the Bible. Through our work in the areas of Bible translation, literacy and Scripture engagement, we see God opening minds to understand Scripture and see lives transformed by God’s love and word expressed in languages and cultures all over the world.

This post is the fourth in our Bible Translation 101 series, giving you a window into our world to learn more about our main focuses: Bible translation, literacy and Scripture engagement.

A man listens to the audio Scriptures for the first time at the Naro New Testament Dedication in November of 2012.

A man listens to the audio Scriptures for the first time at the Naro New Testament Dedication in November of 2012.

You might think Scripture engagement is a focus area for after the full Bible has been printed – in fact Scripture engagement is necessary before anything is translated and throughout the whole process!

So what is Scripture engagement? It’s more than telling people to read their Bibles! Scripture engagement is:

  • building relationships with people in the community
  • promoting local ownership of a Bible translation project
  • deciding what format to produce and distribute Scripture in (whether a book, videos, recordings, etc)
  • teaching and modelling how to engage with the Bible and put it into practice in our daily lives (this may include teaching about how to meditate on God’s word, how to lead a Bible study, how to use listening devices to listen to audio recordings of Scripture, etc
  • identifying needs for, developing and distributing materials that will help people engage with the Bible
  • working with local musicians, actors, storytellers and artists to create ethnically authentic worship songs and Scripture presentations (EthnoArts)

Are you enjoying our Bible Translation 101 series? Are there other Wycliffe basics you want to see featured on our blog? Why not drop us a line at

Hear the word of the Lord

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 by Ruth

David Suchet, whose birthday is today (happy birthday, David!), fulfilled what he describes as “a 27 year ambition” to make an audio recording of the entire NIV Bible, from Genesis right the way through to Revelation.

David SuchetThe recording is the first full-length audio Bible spoken by a single British actor, and it took David over 200 hours in the recording studio to bring the project to completion.

“I thought ‘Well one thing I can do, or I think I can do, is to read’, and I’ve for many, many years felt that I wanted to put my voice to the Bible, and not only bits of the Bible, but the whole thing.

“It will, for me, fulfil what I suppose is a 27 year ambition,” he muses.

David reminds us of the Biblical command to “Hear the word of the Lord”, found in multiple places within Scripture, including Isaiah 28:14, Ezekiel 27:4 and Acts 13:44.

“It doesn’t say ‘Read the word of the Lord’, it says ‘Hear the word of the Lord’,” Suchet notes. “It’s my prayer that…it will be fresh and [those listening] will think, as I think when I’m reading, ‘God, this is fantastic’.”

View this in YouTube

David has big dreams for the recording, the fee for which he is donating entirely to charity.

“What I hope from a personal point of view, is that whoever wants to will be able to read the Bible at the same time as listen to it, or listen to it without reading it, and that they will want to keep returning to it,” he says.

“But in practical terms, I have done it and I must leave it to the far higher being, and let him do what he wants with it.”

David’s prayer resonates with the heart of Wycliffe Bible Translators in that we long for God’s word – in whatever format or language needed – to transform the lives of those who engage with it. This particular audio version is available as an app or you can listen online via the BibleGateway.

(Article adapted from Christianity Today’s original report.)