Friday, December 2, 2016

The Manger

As the Mbe team in Nigeria was translating, they came to Luke 2:7: “She [Mary] gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”

The translators took time to ponder how to translate some of the words, but not “manger.” They immediately used the word “ókpáng.”

“What’s an ókpáng?” asked their consultant, John Watters. “Tell me what it looks like.” It was essentially a cradle hung by ropes so that the newborn could be laid in it and swung.
At John’s prompting, the Mbe translators consulted the Translator’s Notes (non-technical commentaries) again. They saw that “manger” referred to an animal feeding trough! John encouraged them to consider the implications of the manger. “When Jesus came to live among us and bring salvation to us, he came in the lowliest way possible. He did not come and sleep in a nice ókpáng like every Mbe mother wants for her newborn. Instead, he showed us his unbelievable humility,” John told them. “So we need to find your best word for an animal feeding trough.”

One of the men replied, “We feed our animals out of an old worn-out basket that is not usable anymore except to feed the animals.”
“Then try that term,” said John. “Put it in your rough draft and test it with Mbe speakers.”

Later, during the testing, as the Mbe people listened, they were visibly moved. Picturing the newborn baby lying in the animals’ feeding basket, they recognized in a new way that Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to reach them.

This is the power of Bible translation — revealing the heart of God so that men might fully understand and come to know life through Jesus Christ.

Story Source:

What’s up in my world?
Our department’s long-range planning time went well in November. I am also thankful to report good progress toward the financial goals through new partnerships and increased giving from some who have been long-term partners. Thank you for your faithful prayers and gifts toward my Wycliffe ministry!

Visit my Google group for information about my Indianapolis schedule this December. See many of you soon!

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