Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blessed to Speak English

My first language is English. Unfortunately, at least at a functional level, my only language is English. I wish I spoke more.

Despite speaking only one language, I realize that I am blessed. The reason for this is the vast amount of Christian literature that exists in the English language. I doubt that any other language even comes close to equaling what English has.

Just as an example, there are currently many different versions of the bible in English. Every year it seems that a new one appears. Just within this decade the ESV and HCSB have come upon the scene.

If you go to this site and click on the down arrow by the choice of language translation, you will see that while most languages have just one or two choices offered, English has twenty.

Compare this to the hundreds of people groups in the world who do not even have ONE translation of the scriptures in their heart language.

Beyond bible translations, the English language has thousands of good Christian books, magazines, Sunday School literature choices, music cds, etc. There are even multiple Christian publishing houses.

With all this Christian literature available, it seems like English-speaking countries around the world should be the most Christian, at least by percentage of the population. However, this is not the case. Amazingly, Christianity appears to be growing most rapidly in places like China and sub-Saharan Africa. Christians in those locations are usually very blessed to just have one copy of the bible per family or even local church.

To sum up, I'm thrilled that I speak English because of the amazing array of English bible translations, books, etc. However, it is clear that amount of literature does not translate directly to living for Christ.

So what do we do? Let's encourage bible translation into ALL of the world's languages so that everyone can read God's glorious word in his own heart language. Let's also preach and teach that we must live according to the word. Reading it is not enough.


Bethany W. said...

English is a blessing indeed.
Your family is doubly blessed becuase you have fluent Spanish and American Sign Language as well - what a tool for the Lord!

Eric said...


I agree. My wife really is amazing.

Paul Merrill said...

Eric, bless you for mentioning how important Bible translation is!

We do have it so easy here in North America.

-Paul, from The Seed Company (a part of Wycliffe Bible Translators).