154% donated for our trip to Croatia; “of Alpheus” and “of encouragement”: lost (and found) in translation, #14

Yes, you read that correctly! Praise God and thank you for your generous giving. We have received $15,405 of the $10,000 that we need for our trip to Croatia this summer! The extra money will help so much if we have extra expenses on this trip, and whatever is left over we will keep to use for our trip next year since we will also be going in 2024. Thank you so much for your generosity. We are grateful to all of you and so encouraged to see how the Body of Christ works together so faithfully.

village outreach summer 2019

UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: For those of you in the KC area, I will be giving a presentation on global Bible translation at our home church from 10:00-10:45 a.m on Sunday, June 4, and will be preaching on missions at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 11, at CrossWay Bible Church, 701 NW Woods Chapel Rd., Blue Springs, MO. We’d love to have you visit if you are available or you can watch it on www.crosswaybible.org.

LOST (AND FOUND) IN TRANSLATION, INSTALLMENT #14: Few words in the English language can have more meanings than our little word “of”. Other languages do not necessarily have this word, but they have the same thought expressed by noun cases (in this case, the genitive). Because it can be quite vague in translation or be open to so many different interpretations, we often choose to spell out the meaning when we are translating for the Roma. Here are a few recent examples:

Not long ago we finished translating the Gospel of Mark and are currently translating Acts in three Roma languages. In Mark 3:18 (and Acts 1:13) we are given a list of the names of the apostles, one of whom is literally “James of Alpheus.” We didn’t think most Roma would understand “of Alpheus” so we made it more clear by translating it as “James, Alpheus’ son”. Of course, they didn’t have last names in the first century so to distinguish people you were referring to, you needed an extra qualifier, like the name of their father, or what town they were from (e.g., “Jesus of Nazareth”, “Saul of Tarsus”). But it wasn’t always the father who was used to identify someone. In Mark 16:1 , “Mary of James” needed to be translated as “Mary, James’ mother”. And what about when it is being used metaphorically? Acts 4:36 mentions “Barnabas, which means ‘son of encouragement’.” Here “encouragement” is not a name, but a character quality, so for clarity we translated it into the Gurbet language as “Barnabas, which means one who encourages others” and into the Arli language as “Barnabas (which means he was a man who encouraged)”. (Bonus question: What does “of” mean in Mark 11:30, “The baptism of John, was it from heaven…”? It doesn’t mean that John was the one being baptized, but that he was the one doing the baptism. So to be more clear, our translation of Mark 11:30 in the Arli language says, “Who gave John the right to baptize…” (more on this verse in a future installment!)

Thank you for praying for us each day as we translate God’s Word for these three Roma languages. Pray for much wisdom and for the Spirit of God to guide and enable us as we make dozens of these types of decisions in translation daily.


Todd & Pamala

Pam (left) with her sister, Kim (right), and mom, Barbie Hughes (center), on a recent fun mother-daughter outing. It is great to be living nearby.

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