Bible dedications are great. They are a fantastic celebration after many years of hard work. They mean that people now have God’s word in their heart language. We celebrate with them and hope that the new Bible will be well used. But what happens next? Does revival break out? Do communities change? Or does the new Bible collect dust on the shelf in the village? Any one of these outcomes is possible. But why are some translations well used and others not? SURAM (Scripture Use Research and Ministry) is a project that is seeking to answer some of these questions. I was blessed to be able to go on part of a SURAM
survey just recently. It was a lot of fun, but – at least in this case – very discouraging, as far as vernacular Bible use goes.
We don’t often hear about the not-so-good stories. In this case the reasons why the vernacular Bible was not being used were quite complex. We had to dig beneath the surface to try and find out what was going on. Part of the problem was related to the reputations of some of the people on the translation team. This is just one of the many factors that can affect Bible use.
Currently, some people who have been involved with SURAM are working on further ways to help some of these language groups where it was discovered that vernacular Bible use is low. The idea is to find out what the issues are and do something about it. Depending on what the issue is, ‘doing something about it’ could mean many things: literacy training, discipleship, ministry or pastoral training, just to mention a few.
Pray with us as we work to see God’s Word transforming lives, not just sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust.