How many bibles do you need in your church?

acts2v12biblegateway

The answer to that might depend on how many different languages are spoken in your congregation. Perhaps everyone can speak English or perhaps in your congregation most people speak another shared language that everyone understands.

Language isn’t just about understanding the words enough to join in. It is also about creating a welcoming environment. So it may be worth exploring what languages people would like to use.

The verse quoted in five languages above goes right back to the beginnings of the global church. Before that time it had been possible for people to become part of the people of God.

The book of Ruth tells the story of a widow who follows her Jewish mother in-law to Israel and declares “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1.16). She want on to be the grandmother of King David and one of the ancestors of Jesus.

But there was something different in the Old Testament – joining the people of God meant adopting all the cultural rules of the Jewish people. In the book of Acts this begins to change. The small group of believers who had waited and prayed for Jesus to send the promised holy spirit were rewarded for their wait, they burst out of the meeting room and crowds heard them speaking in different languages – the languages the members of the crowd used at home.

Using a variety of languages in the church needn’t be divisive providing interpretation is given where needed. It isn’t a shared language or a shared hymnbook or song set that unites Christians, it is a shared Lord and a shared hope.

 

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