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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Books on Tape – recordings of the Bible in 1400 languages

books-on-tape

I’m not sure whether this joke will be understood by future generations but I enjoyed it and I’m glad that cartoonist John Atkinson shares his works under a generous licence.

Audio books have been around for a number of years. Some are available in a number of different languages but none have been translated and recorded quite so much as the Bible. Thanks to the generosity of translators and publishers, the diligent hard work of those who track down and manage publishing agreements for copyrighted work, and the amazing work of technicians, editors, and of course voice actors some or all of the Bible is available in audio form in at least 1400 languages.

One of the pioneers in this is Faith Comes By Hearing who have been recording New Testaments and Bibles on tape and now MP3 and other digital formats since the 1980’s.

Another is the Jesus Film which as it suggests is a film, but it’s a film with a soundtrack and many of their products are released as audio versions.

Both these ministries come together in a website and app called Bible.is which currently claim to have resources in 1800+ languages and dialects including audio Bibles and New Testaments in over 1200 languages. The numbers keep going up!

“Faith Comes By Hearing” is from Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (NIV)

Earlier in the same passage it states:

with an option to switch into any of the available languages.

In today’s digitally connected world it can be tempting to think that nobody actually needs to go anywhere. Surely we can spread the gospel just through social media?

“How beautiful are the tweets
of those who bring good news!”

Social media does indeed have a great role to play and a number of my colleagues have begun to see that making scripture available online doesn’t mean that people will find it, listen to it and respond. We’re beginning to do a lot more in terms of using social media to help people know when scripture is available in their language and discover that it is relevant to their lives.

Even with the help of technology the message still spreads from person to person. Not everyone who hears welcomes  the message but “how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”

Some people will hear via a social media share, or a post in local community group, others it will involve a short walk and a face to face conversation. Where can you let people know how to find audio Bibles and New Testaments in the languages spoken in your community?

What languages are spoken near your church?

Wouldn’t it be great if the languages that were spoken by the people in your community were also being spoken by people in your church.

In the UK, census data from 2011 was made available in a map shared by the Guardian newspaper. (click this static map to go to their interactive one)derby languages

This tool allows you to enter a postcode or zoom around the map and click on an area for a breakdown of the languages reported by households in the census.

The Guardian’s visualization only includes a selection of the 100+ languages identified in the census and the census still managed to merge a lot of smaller languages into various categories of ‘other’. But this is still a valuable tool to help you start thinking about what languages are spoken in your community and what you might like to do to make people more welcome if English isn’t their first language.

Data gathered from schools in England identified at least 300 languages (still not identifying all languages that are in use). Your local school may have data available on the languages spoken by their pupils.

Similar public data is also available for other countries but there are other ways to find out what languages are spoken in your community. Get out and meet people.

How will they hear? Facebook isn’t the answer

https://www.facebook.com/2000bibles/posts/1617921138228976


Facebook is not the answer. It may be a helpful tool if used well.

The Bible has 1000’s of verses, some of which can encourage people and speak to them without having the wider context, but like everything else on facebook can be misinterpreted if people don’t see how they fit into the rest of what you (or better still God) was thinking.

The Bible is available in hundreds of languages (some books of it in over 3000 languages) but lots of people don’t know about some of the newer translations.

This site is a very tiny part of trying to address that through simply providing some links to Bibles and resources, some tips on engaging, and some prompts to share what you have found.

It’s not a busy site and it’s been around for a few years. I just haven’t told many people …until now.

Audio Bibles in 1000 languages

In January Faith Comes by hearing announced the release of audio Bibles in 9 more languages along with that was the realization that 2016 will be the year that they reach 1000 languages.

2016 will also be the year when at least one book of scripture will have been translated in 3000 of the 7000 languages used on earth.

FCBH1000

Pray for Faith Comes By Hearing and others working to translate and distribute scripture.

Join them when they celebrate releasing scripture in the 1000th language.

and start praying for the 2000th, 3000th and 4000th!

 

Every person who wants to know what the Bible says should be able to find out. — YouVersion

But they can’t. At least, not yet… If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you already have the Bible in your language. (We hope so.) You may even have several versions to choose from. But have you ever wondered what your life might be like without the Bible? Think about how God’s Word speaks to…

via Every person who wants to know what the Bible says should be able to find out. — YouVersion

Go Tandem – an app to help you grow spiritually?

What Bible apps do you recommend?

Brassingtons in Britain

GoTandem app nudging in the right direction It’s strange how many people are spiritually hungry, but forget to eat!

I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of the Go Tandem app to begin with, but having tried it I think I’m a fan. The basic idea is that even people who know they benefit from engaging with Scripture often need encouragement to read or listen. (and they’ve done some studies to back this up).

A short survey allows users to identify areas in which they would like to grow spiritually and then serves up snippets of scripture throughout the day (again customized to the user) that others have found helpful. This isn’t a replacement for more in depth study and reflection but does provide a series of helpful nudges and reminders of truths people may already accept or verses that challenge them to read and reflect a little more.

I met one of the people behind it…

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Chrome + Android = apps on PCs and iPhones

Android Bible in Chrome

A Bible on Android in a Chrome browser on an Apple?

Yes I know PC’s and Apples have some great apps but did you know that you can run Android apps on a Chrome browser? That means you can run them on PC, Linux, and all those Apple things. No it’s probably not going to be quite as good as running on an Android, but might be enough to let you try enough cool things to want to get one.
See https://developer.chrome.com/apps/getstarted_arc

What’s this got to do with 1000bibles.wordpress.com ?

Well for one thing you can now run the Android Bible app that is available here and any other cool Bible apps and games that are available on Android but not yet on other platforms. The Scripture App Builder software that created that has now been officially launched (I’m just a humble fan and user of it).

OK Google: Where do I find help in the Bible

There wasn’t an “OK Bible” app available when I looked but I’m sure there will be soon and it will be possible to do a Google Now voice search by chapter and verse, topic, or partially quoted scripture. What would be the most commonly asked questions to “OK Bible?”

With so many Bibles available online or as downloadable apps searching the Bible has never been easier. You can find bits that you are looking for or follow links to parts other people suggest might be helpful in a particular situation.

You can already do a Google voice search and just ask your phone “OK Google, what does the Bible say about…” , just be sure not to take all the Googled answers as “gospel”.

Long before such interesting technology the Gideons were including a section at the front of the New Testaments that they gave out in schools entitled “Where to find help”.

Not surprisingly those  Bible Helps are now online. They can help you quickly find verses for when you are:
Afraid, Anxious, Apathetic, Away from Home, Bereaved, Bitter, Blaming God, Broken-Hearted, Bullied, Choosing a Career, Complacent, Confession, Conscious of Sin, Considering Marriage, Contemplating Revenge, Critical, Criticised, Desperate, Distressed, Doubting, Envious, Far from God, Feeling Hurt, Feeling Inadequate, Feeling Lost, Friends Fail, Gratitude, Heaven, Hell, Honesty, Humility, Ill, Insecure, In Danger, In Pain, Insulted, Intimidated, Jealous, Lonely, Made Redundant, Needing Comfort, Needing Guidance, Needing Peace, Newly Retired, Praying, Prioritising, Resentful, Sceptical, Stressed, Suicidal, Tempted, Thankful
…and that’s only part of the list. It also provides starting points for finding some of what the Bible says on a whole range of issues.Gideon Bible Helps

Each verse may be a comfort and a help in itself but they are also jumping off points into finding deeper truths. Quotes are helpful doorways into what the Bible is saying and reminders of truths already known. It’s always good to read or listen to them in context, and with electronic Bibles it’s easier than ever to quickly find a verse in context.

There are lots of other great online resources for helping search or navigate the Bible (more links here later).

People before you have asked similar questions and you have access to the whole Bible to test whether what they say is true.

Sometimes I have to ask my phone the same question twice, so I’ll ask the one at the start of this post.

What would you ask OK Bible?  (post answers as comments or tweet them marked #OKBible)

Spell Checking in the next 1000 languages

Simple spell checks for use by Firefox and Thunderbird are easily available in about 100 languages (see https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/language-tools/ )

These are not highly intelligent spell checks they merely highlight whether a word is in a wordlist or not.

They would also be fairly easy to create in another 1000 languages or so for which there exist reasonable wordlists.

  • Creating a spell check is fairly easy.
  • Installing a spell check is fairly easy.
  • Making a spell check available to others is fairly easy.
  • This is of little value
    …unless you also tell people you have created a spell check,
    ensure they know where to access it and install it,
    and encourage them to tell others.

But let’s start with…

Creating a spell check

A Firefox add-on is a ZIP file renamed to use a ‘.xpi’ file extension. To create a dictionary add-on, simply create a ZIP file which contains the following files and folders:

my-dictionary.xpi

  • install.rdf
  • dictionaries/
    • locale-code.dic
    • locale-code.aff

So to create a spell check that can be used in the firefox browser you simply need.

  • A list of words saved saved as a text file and renamed with a .dic extension.
  • A bit of code (also editable in Notepad) and saved with an .aff file extenstion.
  • A Zip program renamed with an .xpi file extension instead of the normal .zip

More details at :

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Creating_a_spell_check_dictionary_add-on

I didn’t find it quite so simple as the zip file I created claimed to be corrupt when I tried to install my test dictionary. I used the free program from www.7zip.org

Instead of creating the zip file I opened an existing one and copied updated files into it and this worked without any problems.

 

Installing a spell check

Opening the .xpi in Firefox will start a dialogue to install the spell check

In Thunderbird go to Add ons > Extensions and then select the drop down tools next to the search bar and select “Install Add-on from file”

 

Using the Spell Check

The Firefox spell checker is enabled on any text box that allows for more than one line of text.

  • Words are underlined if not found in the word list.
  • Right clicking on the word offers alternatives.
  • Right clicking also opens a menu that allows you to switch to a different
    installed dictionaries.

 

Making a spell check available to others

Submit to Mozilla and/or make downloadable from any website or share by email etc

 

Tell people about it!

Making the spell check available to download is not the same as telling people it is available. Some will find and share it but for maximum effect tell people via facebook, press release, word of mouth etc. Eg encourage people to include a link to the spell check on documents they produce using it.

 

So far I’ve made one spell check using this method and passed it on to someone I know. When I build more I’ll be sure to tell you.