Prayer Watch: Eight is Not Enough
So, on a Sunday morning your pastor begins, “Let’s open our Bibles to . . .” Wait a minute. He doesn’t say to open our New Testaments?
So, if we, like so many language groups around the world, would have only the New Testament, how would we understand a verse like Matthew 4:4? Let’s just think about it for a minute. How do the language communities with only the New Testament understand this passage?
The tempter came to him and said,
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)
Why does Jesus say, “It is written?” Where is it written? Having only the New Testament we would not know much about God leading the Israelites—providing them with manna—through the wilderness. In fact, it’s in Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 4 that Jesus quotes to the tempter:
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today,
so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess
the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness
these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart,
whether or not you would keep his commands.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna,
which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that
man does not live on bread alone but on
every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
(Deuteronomy 8:1-4 NIV)
This is just one of many examples that demonstrates how much we would miss without the Old Testament!
One of our Wycliffe Associates’ MAST leaders, Robert, writes in his journal, “Eight is not Enough: Woohoo—eight books of the Old Testament! Initial drafts of Joshua, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah Esther, Joel, Nahum and Malachi were completed in our translation workshop for a major Bibleless Asian language on Friday. We were busy!”
A little farther down in his journal, Robert writes:
Very recently, this seemed an IMPOSSIBLE task to these persecuted believers. But now they have tasted God’s sweet words in their heart language, and they are HUNGRY to complete this massive task. The Body of Christ won’t rest until the task is done. “Then he said to me . . . ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” Ezekiel 3:3 NIV).
My friend, Wycliffe Associates’ vision is to have “A Bible in every language by 2025.” So, here we are ready to make a significant thrust to not just begin New Testament translation—though the New Testament is still being translated into new languages. It’s now time to pray for the translation of the whole Bible. The global church is ready to complete the translations of the entire Bible into the local languages.
Our President/CEO Bruce Smith recently filmed a message for us as he stands overlooking the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Let’s listen as he teaches about the need for the Old Testament.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV).
Because “All Scripture” is so important let’s focus our prayers together to:
- Pray for the language groups who have been waiting for decades for the Old Testament to be translated for them.
- Pray that they will be empowered by God and equipped with MAST training and technology to do the hard work of translating the Old Testament.
- Please pray for MAST leaders, facilitators, Bible scholars, and prayer warriors to be enabled by God to effectively train and lead the national Bible translators in their translation work.
- Pray that God will put a hedge of protection around every MAST workshop, even as translated Scripture is making inroads into Satan’s territory.
- Pray for the seemingly impossible task of translating the massive Old Testament. Ask God to build the teams’ courage and strength to complete the entire Bible in their local languages.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit moves among the translation teams to make them cohesive, confident, and effective in their translation work.
- Pray that every translation is accurate, easy to understand, and used to train the people of God so that they will be equipped for every good work.
- Vice President of Operations, Brent Ropp reported to us regarding COVID-19 that, “The big challenges ahead of us right now are trying to find ways to continue accelerating Bible translation. Travel bans are impacting our teams globally now.”
- Please pray fervently that God will make the path straight to every Bible translation event taking place right now, and in the coming weeks. Pray for protection and good health for everyone involved in ministry of Bible translation.
We appreciate and we need for each of you to be praying with us daily that Bible translation will be unhindered and that everyone involved will be led by the Holy Spirit.