How beautiful are the feet…
The impact of technology on Scripture use
Translated Scriptures are of no use if they are unused: written but unread, recorded but unheard, filmed but unseen. For Wycliffe, making the translated Scriptures accessible to the people they are translated for goes hand in hand with translation work. Here, advances in technology and in particular the growing reach of the internet, are having a significant impact.
Stuart Cameron (translation advisor, digital media) captures the speed of change when he writes,
When we published the Helong NT in 2012 (West Timor), we created a web version with concordance to help Helong readers who had internet access. We thought we were cutting edge at that time. Yet a few years later, that is old hat.
Today Scriptures are uploaded to the Digital Bible Library and made available within a few days on websites and on mobile phones through apps.
Audio recordings are bundled with the text so people can read and listen to Scriptures simultaneously.
New readers can also listen to the audio and follow the highlighted text and build up their reading confidence.
Alan Rogers, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the Northern Territory using media to support Scripture engagement, says there has never been a more exciting time. Alan says,
Has there ever before been the possibility of end-users making their own encouraging, uplifting, teaching, comforting, educational and biographical materials, with the possibility of them turning viral and being used by God to further his kingdom – without relying on input from ‘experts’? No, never!
A clear example of this comes from the Christians at the remote Northern Territory community of Manyallaluk. Dance and actions to Christian songs have always been part of their expression of worship. Now when they have a youth camp they produce their own rap songs based on Scripture. In doing so they are engaging with Scripture and creating something new for themselves.
Through many changes, the message we preach remains unchanged.
Paul issued a challenge to the Roman church that is still a call to us today: But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news! (Romans 10:14-15 NLT).
Today those ‘beautiful feet’ may come in the form of the translated Scriptures in an app, webpage or on YouTube. The times have indeed changed.
Explore our online treasure trove of Scriptures in multiple languages wycliffe.org.au/explore/ language-facts/bibles-in-other-languages/
Watch the story of Joseph in a Manyallaluk rap https://tinyurl.com/y8gxecdg
This story is from Wycliffe Today – October 2017 Edition (PDF)