I love to read the Bible in Indonesian. This morning I pulled out my Indonesian copy of the New Testament, the Kitab Suci Injil, and had a quiet time. I know enough of the language that I can still read mostly fluently and get meaning and understanding out of the text. It’s nice to read God’s Word in a different language because it helps me see new and different sides of the story- stories I’m so familiar with. But yet the different rendering of it helps me see it in a new light. I can appreciate it afresh.
I also like to read the Bible in Indonesian because it reminds me that God speaks so many languages. Here is a Bible translated for a people very different than me. And yet God speaks their language. When I read their version of the Bible it’s like I get to see God, or understand God, from their perspective. I’m reminded of their worldview. I’m reminded of the rice fields. I’m reminded of the morning coffee and the roosters outside our door. I’m reminded of the mountains. It brings me there. And when I read the Bible in Indonesian I see God from their perspective. And that’s a perspective that enriches my life.
I’m convinced that God used the tower of Babel incident for precisely these reasons- so that God could reveal Himself in new an unique ways through all the cultures of the world. God divided up the languages and cultures so that each would have a slightly different view of Him. It was a judgement, but a blessing in disguise. We get such varied and unique worship styles all over the world. When I read my Indonesian text I definitely get a sense of that. One version certainly isn’t better than another. Each one flavors it just a bit differently.
My heart goes out to all those who don’t have God’s Word, God’s story, in their language.