‘It’s Like God Is Speaking Our Language’: Zambian Christians Hear the Bible in Their Native Tongue for the First Time

Article by: Efrem Graham

ZAMBIA – Most of us can’t imagine not having a Bible in the language we speak. But that’s the reality for millions. It’s pushing Bible translators to find new and faster ways to get scripture to every corner of the world.

Wycliffe Associates is a leader in the effort. It’s partnering with churches in distant countries and seeing an explosion of life-changing activity as a result. There are more than 5,000 people working in Zambia right now, translating the Bible into 20 native languages.

Zambia is known for its vast landscapes, walking safaris, and Victoria Falls. Still, it’s called Africa’s “best-kept secret.” And Zambia is giving birth to yet another untold story – men and women meeting daily to translate the Bible into the languages they speak.

Bishop Henry Mumba is a church pastor and church planter. He says his first memory of the Bible was hearing the gospel verse, John 3:16. Mumba is helping lead church-owned translation work in Mansa.

“My pastor was a missionary from another country,” Mumba explained. “And he came into this town and when they preached the Gospel to me the first verse that I knew was John 3:16, ‘For God so love the world, that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'”

Scholars estimate there are, at the very least, 7,000 languages spoken around the world. Fewer than 800 of those languages have the Bible fully translated, both old and new testaments, leaving thousands still in need of translation. Many of those are here on the continent of Africa, in hard-to-reach places, as well as in Asia and Indo-Pacific regions.

When CBN News visited, churchgoers in Mansa, Zambia, were reading and hearing the New Testament in Aushi, their mother tongue, for the very first time. After reading, there was dancing. “It’s like God is speaking our language,” Mumba said.

It’s a first – even for Henry Mumba – who remembers hearing John 3:16 at the age of 19. Now he’s hearing – and seeing – scripture in his native language at age 58. Mumba also told us the Bible is the first written literature in Aushi. “We’ve never had anything before,” he said.

This New Testament gift is more than literature.

SourceCBN News


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