Beautiful feet bring good news

8 07 2011

I have just listened to a recording of Melvyn Bragg  speaking in celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible to an audience at the Hay Festival.  (And incidentally giving an advert for his recent book.)  He is clearly passionate about the value of the King James Version as literature and of the immense influence it has had on our society in Britain.  He also spoke to Sian and Bill on BBC Breakfast, which you can listen to here.

The King James Bible, because it was in English rather than in Latin, allowed the laity to understand what the clergy preached, so there is much to celebrate.

I still remember passages that I committed to memory at school, like this one – “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”

But personally, I am celebrating  more recent English translations that have helped me to understand the Bible, not just as great literature and cultural influence, but as God’s story and my part in it.  (Bragg doesn’t sign up to that bit.)

Here’s that quotation again in the New Living translation – “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”

It certainly makes more sense to me.

I am grateful to those who have told me the story, orally and in writing, people whom I have never met who have studied and translated so that I have the best possible chance of understanding and coming to faith.

~

Wycliffe Bible Translators tell us that worldwide there are over 300 million people who do not have access to the story of the Bible in the language that they understand the best, what they call their ‘heart’ language.  How will these people hear unless someone tells them; how will they have the best possible chance of coming to faith?  Wycliffe is working hard to address these issues.

But I have the Bible in my heart language.  It’s a start, but getting its message into my heart, developing a posture of heart that is right towards God, well…

~

“How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

(Romans 10:15 quoting Isaiah 52:7)

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